Recent Beethoven Publications and Related Books 2014-2015

By Stroh, Patricia | The Beethoven Journal, Summer 2015 | Go to article overview

Recent Beethoven Publications and Related Books 2014-2015


Stroh, Patricia, The Beethoven Journal


The following summaries ofbooks recently acquired by the Beethoven Center arc intended to aid readers in selecting new publications that appeal to their individual interests. Part I, "History, Criticism, Analysis, and Performance," includes books in English and German that will be of interest to both general readers and specialists. Part II, "Fiction," includes short stories, novels, and childrens books. Part III describes a few new editions of Beethovens works. The language is English unless otherwise indicated.

To obtain copies ofbooks and benefit the Beethoven Center simultaneously, please order them online through iGive. com. A percentage ofsales ofbooks and other merchandise ordered through iGive participant dealers will benefit the American Beethoven Society. Prices may be discounted on Barnes and Noble, Borders, and other online booksellers. We have also included web addresses of publishers or distributors for direct orders.

Part I. History, Criticism, Analysis, Performance

All about Beethoven

Ellison, Paul M. The Key to Beethoven: Connecting Tonality and Meaning in His Music. The North American Beethoven Series no. 7. Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2014. viii, 437 pp. ISBN 978-157647-202-6 (paperback): $60. www.pendragonpress.com

This revision of the authors dissertation at Cardiff University focuses on Beethoven's vocal music, exploring why the composer chose particular keys (G Major, for example) not only for complete works or movements but also in certain passages within works. Although of particular value to music theorists and performers, the book is also intended for anyone interested in a new approach to listening to Beethovens works. The first chapter reviews historical documentation of Beethoven's exposure to, understanding of, and views on the distinct characteristics of different tonalities. Ellison then examines more closely the connection between keys and the meaning of the texts Beethoven set to music. One issue with this type of analysis is the disagreement among theorists of Beethoven's day about the meaning of particular keys, for example, whether the key of C Major expresses "grandiose/ majestic" or "pure/innocent" qualities. Ellison assigns these contrasted ideas to different "affective praxes" and then applies these praxes to a survey of works in primary and secondary keys. After listing selected works by other composers and works by Beethoven according to key and the praxes to which they belong, he tests these theories through a closer analysis of the vocal music. For this analysis Ellison groups the works by four categories: shorter songs with clear connections between key and textual meaning; songs with more complex tonal schemes; songs containing substantial modulations to remote keys to underscore textual meaning; and songs of narrative quality where the tonality does not appear to be used symbolically. He presents case studies for five vocal/choral works with orchestra: Ah!pérfido, Opus 65; Christ on the Mount of Olives, Opus 85; the Mass in C Major, Opus 86; Elegischer Gesang, Opus 118; and the last movement of the Ninth Symphony. Finally, he applies his analysis of key symbolism to a purely instrumental work that has a programmatic quality: the "Tempest" Sonata, Opus 31, no. 2. The concluding chapter briefly explores other areas of the topic, such as romantic imagery, Beethoven's settings of the same text in different keys, and examples where Beethoven changed his original key choice. Includes extensive bibliography and index.

Ludwig van Beethoven, Thematisch-bibliographiches Werkverzeichnis [Ludwig van Beethoven. Thematic-Bibliographic Work Catalog]. Edited by Kurt Dorfmüller, Norbert Gertsch, and Julia Ronge, with the cooperation of Gertraut Haberkamp and the Beethoven-Haus Bonn. Revised and significantly expanded new edition of the catalog by Georg Kinsky und Hans Halm. Munich: G. Henle Verlag, 2014. 2 v. ISBN 978-3-87328-153-0 (hardbound): euro495 ($540; the exchange rate here and below is based on the rate as of July 15, 2015). …

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