Beethoven: The Philosophy of Music

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9780804735155: Beethoven: The Philosophy of Music

Theodor W. Adorno's long-awaited but never finished Beethoven: The Philosophy of Music was published in Germany only in 1993, nearly a quarter of a century after the author's death in 1969. These important and illuminating notes and texts - which remain in fragmented form - were described by Adorno as a "diary of his experiences of Beethoven". The editor of this volume, Rolf Tiedemann, has organized the segments in such a way as to bring out their inherent logic and relatedness. He has added copious explanatory notes and an appendix which serve as an invaluable elaboration of Adorno's frequently cryptic aphorisms.

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Beethoven is a classic study of the composer's music, written by one of the most important thinkers of our time. Throughout his life, Adorno wrote extensive notes, essay fragments and aides-memoires on the subject of Beethoven's music. This book brings together all of Beethoven's music in relation to the society in which he lived.


Adorno identifies three periods in Beethoven's work, arguing that the thematic unity of the first and second periods begins to break down in the third. Adorno follows this progressive disintegration of organic unity in the classical music of Beethoven and his contemporaries, linking it with the rationality and monopolistic nature of modern society.


Beethoven will be welcomed by students and researchers in a wide range of disciplines - philosophy, sociology, music and history - and by anyone interested in the life of the composer.

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Adorno, Theodor Wiesengrund
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