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Beethoven: The Ninth Symphony (Revised Edition) [Paperback]

David Benjamin Levy
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1, 2003 0300099649 978-0300099645 Revised
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, a masterpiece that has influenced virutally every Western composer since its premiere, has become associated with the marking of momentous public occasions. In 1989, Chinese students played its finale through loudspeakers in Tiananmen Square, and Leonard Bernstein led a performance in Berlin to celebrate the razing of the Berlin Wall. This lively and up-to-date book focuses on Beethoven's Ninth, exploring the cultural and musical meanings that surround this powerful work of genius. David B. Levy sets the scene with a brief survey of nineteenth-century Germanic culture and society, then analyzes the Ninth Symphony in detail, with special emphasis on the famous choral finale. He discusses the initial performances in 1824 under Beethoven's direction and traces the symphony's critical reception and legacy. In the final chapter of the book, Levy examines interpretations of the work by prominent conductors, including Wagner, Mahler, and Weingartner. A fully annotated discography of selected recordings completes this comprehensive volume.

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Beethoven: The Ninth Symphony (Revised Edition) + Symphonies Nos. 8 and 9 in Full Score (Dover Music Scores)
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Editorial Reviews


"Levy operates from many perspectives - social, cultural, historical, and theoretical... his scholarship is formidable and absolutely current." B. J. Murray, Choice

From the Publisher

Yale Music Masterworks Series

Product Details

  • Series: Yale Music Masterworks
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; Revised edition (November 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300099649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300099645
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ode to joy March 23, 2004
i have a completely new level of understanding regarding this tremendous work of music. i appreciate that the author not only works through the musical elements of the work, but also different music appreciation elements as well; he analyses different critical judgements given about the work. furthermore, the complete poem is translated into english (which i should have expected, but didnt). my favorite line of the book is: "Only the most cynical of listeners can walk away from a performance of the ninth symphony without sensing that all could be well with the world, if only the world wished it so" (pp. 8)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mainly for the music student June 19, 2013
I'm not a music student and do not read music, so I cannot comment on the technical analysis which makes up most of the book. The parts I enjoyed are tracing the 30 year period leading up to the Beethoven's 9th Symphony, its reception (not always favourable) and performance traditions. I value the select discography analyzing 9 recordings of the 9th Symphony from 1928 to 1992 that were faithful, interpretively important or controversial. The conductors include Furtwangler, Toscanini, Roger Norrington, Christopher Hogwood, George Szell and Leonard Bernstein. With footnotes, bibliography and index.
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3 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disapointed November 14, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I do not like this book because it is written for those that can read music and have at least some understanding of compositional theroy. Mr. Levy's disection of the four movements are very technical, very dry, and not meant for the layman. My 2 stars then are given as a layman. The biggest problem is just over half of the books 226 pages are simply a measure by measure breakdown of each movement. To me it seems like stating the obvious, espically if one can read music. The later chapters do however provide accounts of the first performance and the symphony's legacy. If I had known of the technical aspect of the book I would have passed. I guess the insight into the composer I seek might better be found in a biography.
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