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The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven (Expanded Edition) Paperback – January 17, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Expanded Edition edition (January 17, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10:  0393317129
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393317121
  • ASIN: 0393317129
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven is a revised and enlarged version of Charles Rosen's landmark 1970 work on the compositions of the trio of musical geniuses who formed the Viennese Classical School and forever changed the face of music. Along with clarifications, expansions, and new insights into the composers and their music, the book has been enriched by the addition of a compact disc containing two of the Beethoven piano sonatas of which the author writes. Rosen's books are always shot through with musical examples, so you'll get a great deal more out of this one if you can read music. The Classical Style is a brilliant book, composed by a genuine artist, sometimes provocative, but never sloppy in its thinking. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

The first edition of this book won the 1972 National Book Award and remained available in paperback for more than two decades. For this edition, Rosen adds a 14-page preface answering some of his friendly critics and a 26-page essay on Beethoven?which includes 44 musical examples, not seen?that emphasizes the composer's indebtedness to Haydn and Mozart. Otherwise, the text of the original edition remains unchanged. A CD (not heard) of Rosen playing two Beethoven piano sonatas (opp. 106 and 110) is also included. Libraries successful in keeping together the book and CD of Rosen's Romantic Generation (LJ 4/1/95) may want to attempt the same with this set, but once the CD is lost, the price seems high for only two new essays if the older edition is still serviceable.?Bonnie Jo Dopp, Univ. of Maryland Lib., College Park
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The content of this book is very informative and thorough.
Erol Ozsever
I now can listen classical music -- indeed, to any common-practice period music -- with much more insight, understanding, and enjoyment than I could heretofore.
Stuart Bloom
In The Classical Style Charles Rosen does a marvelous job characterizing the music epitomized by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.
Barnaby Thieme

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By klavierspiel VINE VOICE on December 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Charles Rosen by now has attained a place among musical analysts on a par with the likes of Tovey and Grout, though his style is very different from either of these luminaries. Taking the music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven as the pinnacle of the musical style that developed in the late eighteenth-century, Rosen explains how around 1775 there was a decisive shift away from the High Baroque style of Bach and Handel, and why this new music was different. After his general introduction to the style most of the book explores different genres, symphony, opera, concerto and string quartet among them, to create a lucid and multi-faceted picture of how these three great composers approached and solved common musical and formal problems. The new edition adds a preface that addresses criticisms of the original book and an additional late chapter on Beethoven.
Rosen's writing, though it can be dense and repetitive, at its best is unmatched in its ability to relate analysis to what actually is heard by a listener. To this end, an ability to read and understand the copious and detailed musical examples is essential to fully grasping his points--this book is not for the casual amateur. But to those willing to do the work, The Classical Style remains as richly rewarding after three-plus decades as when it first appeared. As another reviewer has mentioned, it is a book one returns to again and again simply for the sheer pleasure of reading it.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By David J. Friedlander on March 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
Rosen's The Classical Style is my favorite book all-time on classical music in general, and Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn in detail. There are other books about these great composers that I love and cherish, but this one is the most intellectually stimulating. It is full of those rare insights that have total impact on my thinking. There are gems in its pages that will enrich your understanding profoundly.

The book is laid out in topics that either address a certain type of piece, a certain period of time and a particular composer. For example, a chapter would be "Haydn before the death of Mozart." Or "Piano concerto". Or "Haydn after the death of Mozart". Or "Piano Trio". Each chapter shows who was best at a certain type of work, why they were the best and then he gives specific musical examples to bolster his arguments. Of course in the process of doing this, Rosen greatly expands your understanding of every topic he covers.

While there are many printed musical examples, it is really better if you are familiar with the pieces in the examples. If you are a proficient music reader, especially on piano, you can probably do pretty well without knowing the music but chances are those two skills aren't mutually exclusive and if you do one, you've probably done the other. In any case, this is a serious book that requires serious work by the reader. You will get out of the book a direct proportion to how much listening and thinking you are willing to do. If you want to seriously learn about the classical period and the elements of music that grew out of that period, this book will help you do that.

If you think that by buying and reading this book you will learn everything there is to know about the classical period, you might be disappointed. How?
Read more ›
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Bloom on March 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a music lover with a superficial knowledge of the technical aspects of music-making, I found this book to be a real challenge. It took me several attempts over the course of a couple of years to get through it. But having expended that effort, I can say that every minute was worth it. I now have a good understanding of what "classical" music (in the stricter definition of "classical") is about, and why its three great Viennese exponents were such masters. I now can listen classical music -- indeed, to any common-practice period music -- with much more insight, understanding, and enjoyment than I could heretofore.
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41 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Osher Doctorow, Ph.D. on June 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am not a Classical Music Expert but I am slowly learning it (most of my book reviews are in mathematics and physics). One of the reviewers criticizes Rosen for some technical reasons that I cannot evaluate. However, I do know that many universities recommend Rosen's book, so the critic is not entirely without his own critics. I find this book endlessly engrossing, as some of the reviewers have. You cannnot come away from this book without understanding many of the main differences between and among Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, and between Classical, Baroque, and Romance music. I was especially interested to find that Beethoven, widely touted as an immoral person in some of the popular media, was in fact a person of great moral character (and the popular impression of Mozart seems to be wrong too, although there is less information on this). Those who believe that creative genius is stimulated by severe suffering (Beethoven, Van Gogh in art, Godel in mathematical logic, Galileo in physics and astronomy, etc.) will find much material in this book that seems to indicate the accuracy of this theory more or less. This is also a book that tells you what Haydn learned from Mozart and Mozart from Haydn, what Beethoven thought of Mozart and Schubert, what classical music learned from Baroque music and so on.
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