Beethoven (Master Musicians Series)

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9780198165989: Beethoven (Master Musicians Series)

The connections between a great artist's life and work are subtle, complex, and often highly revealing. In the case of Beethoven, however, the standard approach has been to treat his life and his art separately. Now, Barry Cooper's new volume incorporates the latest international research on many aspects of the composer's life and work and presents these in a truly integrated narrative.
Cooper employs a strictly chronological approach that enables each work to be seen against the musical and biographical background from which it emerged. The result is a much closer confluence of life and work than is usually achieved, for two reasons. First, composition was Beethoven's central preoccupation for most of his life: "I live entirely in my music," he once wrote. Second, recent study of his many musical sketches has enabled a much clearer picture of his everyday compositional activity than was previously possible, leading to rich new insights into the interaction between his life and music. This volume concentrates on Beethoven's artistic achievements both by examining the origins of his works and by expert commentary on some of their most striking and original features. It also reexamines virtually all the evidence--from fictitious anecdotes right down to the translations of individual German words--to avoid recycling old errors. And it offers numerous new details derived from sketch studies and a new edition of Beethoven's correspondence.
Offering a wealth of fresh conclusions and intertwining life and work in illuminating ways, Beethoven will establish itself as the reference on one of the world's greatest composers.

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About the Author:


Barry Cooper is Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Manchester and author of Beethoven and the Creative Process and Beethoven's Folksong Settings.

From Booklist:

His music was a period unto itself, for Beethoven built on the music of preceding eras and created his own styles. New tonal relationships between sections of a piece, formal innovations, rhythmic exploration, and challenging complexities are the hallmarks that set him apart from his contemporaries (Haydn, Rossini, and Salieri) and far beyond his predecessors (Bach, Handel, and Mozart). He placed his divine art above all else, but he was practical, composing on commissions and for publication to support himself and, after his brother Carl's death, his nephew Karl. His humanism and the need for interaction with his peers always successfully countered his occasional coarseness and irascibility. Through extensive analysis of Beethoven's most significant works, Cooper shows how his creativity developed and how events in his life influenced his compositions. This balanced biography that integrates Beethoven's feelings and motivations with his music belongs wherever there are those who enjoy the great melodies, structures, and harmonic complexities of this unique figure in the world of classical music. Alan Hirsch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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