Beethoven: The Music and the Life

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9780393050813: Beethoven: The Music and the Life

A fresh look at Beethoven's life, career, and milieu highlighting his development as a composer.

In this brilliant portrayal of the world's most famous composer, eminent Beethoven scholar Lewis Lockwood interweaves his subject's musical and biographical dimensions and places them in their historical and artistic contexts. Written for the lay reader, the book describes the special problems Beethoven faced as a highly gifted artist who fulfilled his destiny as Mozart's main successor while remaining a true, rebellious original. It sketches the turbulent personal, historical, political, and cultural frameworks in which Beethoven worked and demonstrates their effects on his music. Finally, it turns to the composer in his last years, with great achievements behind him, surmounting the crisis of finding still further artistic paths by which to continue. Also, by providing glimpses into the composer's sketchbooks and autograph manuscripts, Lockwood allows us to gain substantial insights into Beethoven's compositional methods. In a publishing first, musically literate readers will find some one hundred notated music examples on a special Web site. 50 illustrations, 8 music examples.

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About the Author:

Lewis Lockwood taught at Princeton and Harvard universities, where he is Fanny Peabody Professor of Music Emeritus. His Beethoven: The Music and the Life was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He resides in Brookline, Massachusetts.

From Publishers Weekly:

Although he breaks no new ground, Lockwood (a Harvard professor emeritus in music and a leading Beethoven scholar) does offer an extremely cogent account of the works as they relate to the well-known three phases of Beethoven's remarkable creative life. It's appropriate that the title places the music first, because it is Lockwood's highly observant account of the composer's musical development that will strike readers most forcibly. There is nothing much new to say about the life, and here Lockwood only goes through the motions, pausing only to observe that despite all the speculation, it is doubtful that Beethoven ever enjoyed the physical love of a woman, notwithstanding his many infatuations and sometimes passionate letters. On the music, however, he has many fine insights, particularly into Beethoven's very conscious and determined development of his skills, and his often-neglected splendor as a melodist. A regular Beethoven listener could do worse than use Lockwood's accounts of the works, particularly the middle and late ones-he's inclined to give scant shrift to anything before the Opus 18 quartets-as concert or record notes, written at exactly the right pitch for knowledgeable music lovers who don't have a score in front of them. Lockwood is also thorough regarding the impact of such previous masters as Handel, Bach, Mozart and Haydn on Beethoven's art. Many illustrations not seen by PW; in an unusual extra, about 100 musical examples linked to the book are available on a dedicated Web site.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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