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Schirmer Books, 1998 - Composers - 554 pages
Maynard Solomon's Beethoven, first published in 1977, was instantly hailed as a major reinterpretation of the life, personality, and works of the enigmatic genius. Now, a generation later, the book has been thoroughly revised, updated, and expanded by the author to incorporate new materials and the findings of later research. 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. Rigorously meticulous and objective, Solomon's Beethoven is also renowned for its highly original interpretations of Beethoven's personality, his inner conflicts, patronage affiliations, intellectual and religious tenets, and the dynamics of his family constellation, especially those involving the clusterof fantasies that center on issues of birth, lineage, and ancestry. This edition includes a comprehensive bibliographical essay, numerous illustrations, and a full-color "Pictorial Biography" section that poignantly traces Beethoven's image from adolescence to death bed.

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User Review  - datrappert - LibraryThing

Solomon provides an exhaustively researched look at Beethoven’s life and music that will be eye-opening to anyone who is only familiar with the composer through his works. However, the author’s ... Read full review

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User Review  - JDubba - LibraryThing

It took me some time to adapt to the author’s style of writing for this work. My initial feelings were lukewarm at best, however by the end of my journey with this book I found myself surprisingly ... Read full review


Family Background
The Second Decade

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About the author (1998)

Maynard Solomon's books on Beethoven and his renowned writings on Mozart, Schubert, and Ives led a contributor to "Music & Letters" to name him "the leading musicologist-biographer of our time." His classic biography, "Beethoven", has been translated into seven languages and his "Beethoven Essays" received the Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society for best book of the year in 1989. Mr. Solomon, who lives in New York, has taught at Columbia, Harvard, and Yale Universities.

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