Selected Recent Beethoven and Beethoven-Related Books and Music Scores (1997-1998)

Article excerpt

THE FOLLOWING DESCRIPTIONS OF BOOKS AND SCORES recently acquired by the Beethoven Center are intended to aid readers in selecting new publications that appeal to their individual interests. Part I, Books for the General Reader, encompasses biographies, histories, repertory guides and other reference books, and introductory texts appropriate for the music student. Part II, Books for the Specialist, lists books with a highly analytical or philosophical focus intended for readers with substantial knowledge of music. In those cases where authors have identified their book as being for the general reader or specialist, we have accepted their categorization. Part III lists critical editions and other selected scores.

I. Books for the general reader

IA. Books in English

Beethoven, Ludwig van. Bin Brief an Franz Gerhard Wegeler in Bonn [A Letter to Franz Gerhard Wegeler in Bonn]. Jahresgabe des Vereins Beethoven-Haus 1998, Heft 15. Bonn: Beethoven-Haus, 1998. 15 DM ($9).

This long letter from Beethoven to his childhood friend Wegeler is reproduced in a black-and-white facsimile with a transcription and a commentary by Sieghard Brandenburg in German and English, and an English translation of the letter. Wegeler remained in Bonn to study medicine but renewed his friendship with Beethoven during a brief stay in Vienna, where he lived from 1794-1796. Beethoven's later correspondence with Wegeler was infrequent but still reveals a close and affectionate friendship. In this letter, dated June 29 [1801; Anderson No. 51], Beethoven quite openly describes his musical successes and his health problems, expressing in some detail the painful humiliation and frustration caused by his deafness, though begging Wegeler to keep his problem a secret. The fragile original document is owned by the Beethoven-Haus.

Hinson, Maurice. The Pianist's Bookshelf: A Practical Guide to Books, Videos, and Other Resources. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998. xii, 323 pp. ISBN 0-253-3332-6. $30 (cloth); ISBN 0-253-21145-x. $18.95 (pbk.).

This guide lists nearly 700 resources for the study of piano compositions, intended for teachers and students of the instrument. Topics range from history and criticism to aspects of performing and teaching. Entries are arranged alphabetically by author and include abstracts. Access to the entries by subject is provided in sixteen topical indexes, including a special index of video cassettes. Unfortunately, this method of organization leaves a lot to be desired. For example, we find George Barth's book, The Pianist as Orator Beethoven and the Transformation of Keyboard Style, under Beethoven's listing in the composer index but not under Czerny, even though this book deals largely with Czerny's interpretation of Beethoven's work. (There is also a rather strange second citation for Barth's book with a slightly different pagination and an index listing under Barth for the first fortepiano concerto which leads nowhere). And the book on Franz Liszt's master classes is indexed under Liszt as a composer, not a teacher. In spite of the compiler's intention to include "all published materials relating to the piano published since 1987," there are a good number of entries pre-dating 1987, resulting in a rather dubious selection criteria which seems to be based on neither quality of the material nor comprehensiveness. Hinson excludes periodical literature as well as essays published in books, so writings by pianists such as Schnabel and Brendel are not listed. Instead we find that most of the materials listed are actually unpublished master's theses and doctoral dissertations, only some of which are available from University Microfilms International.

Marsh, John. The John Marsh Journals: The Life and Times of a Gentleman Composer (1752-1828), edited, introduced, and annotated by Brian Robins. Sociology of Music; 9. Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon, 1998. xiv, 797 pp. ISBN 0-945193-94-7. …