Solomon divides Beethoven's life and works into four periods. In part one, Bonn, we witness Beethoven's troubled relationships with his parents, his withdrawal into fantasy, and his emergence as an exemplary young court musician and virtuoso. Vienna - Early Years describes his move to Vienna in late 1792, his conflicts with teachers and patrons, his struggle for independence and recognition, and his efforts to master the heritage of Haydn and Mozart. In The Heroic Period, Solomon delves into the psychological, stylistic, and ideological crises that accompanied the formation of Beethoven's 'heroic' style, offering probing analyses of the composer's deafness, romantic longings, and political outlook, and of his reshaping of the Classical tradition. The Final Phase depicts the collapse of Beethoven's marriage plans, the dissolution of his 'heroic' style, and his turbulent attempt to seize the guardianship of his nephew, Karl. Solomon movingly traces the slow process by which Beethoven reconstructed his life and ultimately arrived at a new mode of self-understanding.