Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

The Invention of Beethoven and Rossini: Historiography, Analysis, Criticism

Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

The Invention of Beethoven and Rossini: Historiography, Analysis, Criticism

Article excerpt

The Invention of Beethoven and Rossini: Historiography, Analysis, Criticism. Edited by Nicholas Mathew and Benjamin Walton. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. xiii, 384 pp. ISBN 9780-521-76805-4 (hardback): $115; 978-1-107-59570-5 (ebook): $92. www.cambridge.org

Assessments of these monumental figures often place the two contemporaries in stark contrast. At one end stands Beethoven, the German composer of profound works meant for private listening. Rossini, the composer of Italian comedic operas intended to appeal to the public, stands at the opposite end. The fifteen essays in this collection, written by authorities on opera and instrumental music of the period, explore the root of this dichotomy and its consequences for the reception of nineteenth century music in general. They are organized under four themes, beginning with the concept of "the age of Beethoven and Rossini" as defined by Raphael Georg Kiesewetter in 1834. Four essays-by James Hepokoski, James Webster, Gundula Kreuzer, and Suzannah Clark-examine the influence of Kiesewetter's polarizing view of the two composers on Carl Dahlhaus, who reiterated the concept of Stildualismus (style-dualism) in his book Die Musik des 19. Jahrhunderts (first published in 1980). The second section, "A Sense of Place," explores the impact of the style-dualism concept in concert life in London, Milan, and Vienna in essays by Roger Parker, Martin Deasy, and Benjamin Walton. …

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