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Late Beethoven: Music, Thought, Imagination Paperback – October 4, 2004
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"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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very disappointing. I expected this book to help me enjoy late Beethoven by illuminating aspects of his music either through analysis of the music itself, relationships with other... Read morePublished on October 3, 2009 by KenOC
Sounds banal but this is really a good read on late Beethoven.
Soloman's done his homework and he writes a nice, clear, subtly postmodern criticism. Read more