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Late Beethoven: Music, Thought, Imagination Paperback – October 4, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; New Ed edition (October 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520243390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520243392
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[F]or sheer interpretive genius and an uncommon gift for rendering in prose the complex, humanly compelling subtleties of Beethoven's music and life, few approach Maynard Solomon.... [E]very chapter in Solomon's book is full of subtle, deeply satisfying accounts of what actually went into Beethoven's late-style works." - Edward Said; "With a bow to the immortal study by J. W. N. Sullivan, Late Beethoven could have also been called 'Beethoven: His Spiritual Development.' Solomon weaves amazingly diverse threads, chapter by chapter, into the fabric of Beethoven's belief system, his take on nature, divinity, human purpose, morality, and the mission of music. This is a book of surprises by an author whose combination of breadth of thought, imaginativeness, aesthetic sensitivity, and learning is really wonderful." - Joseph Kerman, author, with Alan Tyson, of The New Grove Beethoven "Maynard Solomon writes with an unrivaled control of a vast cultural and intellectual sweep that reaches beyond Ancient Greece, and with a graceful precision that disguises the rich complexity of his ideas. Distilling from the late works their sources in both the overarching themes of mankind and the troubled psyche of the composer, he has forever altered a familiar landscape." - Richard Kramer, author of Distant Cycles"

From the Inside Flap

"Maynard Solomon writes with an unrivaled control of a vast cultural and intellectual sweep that reaches beyond Ancient Greece, and with a graceful precision that disguises the rich complexity of his ideas. Distilling from the late works their sources in both the overarching themes of mankind and the troubled psyche of the composer, he has forever altered a familiar landscape."—Richard Kramer, Distinguished Professor, Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and author of Distant Cycles: Schubert and the Conceiving of Song

"With a bow to the immortal study by J.W.N. Sullivan, Late Beethoven could have also been called "Beethoven: His Spiritual Development." Solomon weaves amazingly diverse threads, chapter by chapter, into the fabric of Beethoven's belief system, his take on nature, divinity, human purpose, morality, and the mission of music. This is a book of surprises by an author whose combination of breadth of thought, imaginativeness, aesthetic sensitivity, and learning is really wonderful.—Joseph Kerman, author, with Alan Tyson, of The New Grove Beethoven

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Richard Russell on June 22, 2006
Maynard Solomon is probably the most important Beethoven biographer of modern times. His book is essential research for serious musicians and composers who wish to gain insight into late Beethoven. Solomon's writing is dense; every word and paragraph count. Many, many musical examples, so the ability to read music (and knowledge of music theory) is a must. This is not a casual book, but if you are up for it, it is among the most rewarding Beethoven studies around.

Richard Russell
[...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 29, 2014
The following review was written and posted in February, 2004 on the hardback edition of this title. I was unaware that the paperback was separately listed and that the review did not appear under the paperback edition. Thus, I am posting the review again here.

Maynard Solomon has followed-up his distinguished biography of Beethoven (rev.ed. 1998)with an outstanding study of the music of Beethoven's third period and of the intellectual and emotional changes in Beethoven's outlook that likely contributed to Beethoven's late masterworks. These works include the Ninth Symphony, the Missa Solemnis, the Diabelli Variations, the final string quartets, including the great fugue, and the final five piano sonatas.

Solomon's biography of Beethoven was both notable and controversial for its psychoanalytical approach. I find that approach mostly lacking here. For his approach to Beethoven's inner life and development, Solomon draws extensively on Beethoven's Tagebuch, which Solomon describes as "the intimate diary [Beethoven] kept between 1812 and 1818 to which he confided his inmost feelings and desires" (p.2). Solomon finds a "sea change" (as he titles his Prologue) in Beethoven's system of belief beginning in about 1810. Following Beethoven's comparatively fallow period as a composer between 1812-1816, this change in Beethoven's beliefs bore its consequences in the works of his final maturity. In general, Solomon finds Beethoven's beliefs changed from the rational, enlightenment, classical thought that characterized, for Solomon, the first and second period works, to a more romantic belief system that focused on inwardness, theology, (I found it fascinating that Beethoven showed awareness of and interest in Eastern thought in the Tagebuch), nature, and imagination.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alek on December 13, 2010
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It should be made clear that this book is more about Beethoven's philosophy, than about his music. There are two chapters devoted entirely to his relationship with Free Masonry, a good few chapters of rather speculative interpretation of the Diabelli Variations, and very little on the late quartets (what little there is remains characteristically speculative.)
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