Beethoven's Theatrical Quartets: Opp. 59, 74 and 95

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Cambridge University Press, 2013 - Music - 282 pages
Beethoven's middle-period quartets, Opp. 59, 74 and 95, are pieces that engage deeply with the aesthetic ideas of their time. In the first full contextual study of these works, Nancy November celebrates their uniqueness, exploring their reception history and early performance. In detailed analyses, she explores ways in which the quartets have both reflected and shaped the very idea of chamber music and offers a new historical understanding of the works' physical, visual, social and ideological aspects. In the process, November provides a fresh critique of three key paradigms in current Beethoven studies: the focus on his late period; the emphasis on 'heroic' style in discussions of the middle period; and the idea of string quartets as 'pure', 'autonomous' artworks, cut off from social moorings. Importantly, this study shows that the quartets encompass a new lyric and theatrical impetus, which is an essential part of their unique, explorative character.

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performing the middleperiod quartets
Op 59 No 1 and the drama
song sensibility and rhapsody in Op 59
genre innovation and heroic voices
songful impetus and dualistic voice
Op 95
Anon Lied Ty wospoi wospoi mlad Shaworontschek Singe
A tale of heroic emancipation? Reception narratives for
Select bibliography 255
Index 271

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About the author (2013)

Nancy November lectures in musicology at the University of Auckland. Her research and teaching interests centre on the music of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Her recent publications include essays on the early performance of Beethoven's string quartets and their performance history in the recording age. She has also published aesthetic and analytical studies of Haydn's music, considering contexts of musical melancholy (Eighteenth-Century Music, 2007), the use of register in his string quartets (Music Analysis, 2008) and conceptions of 'voice' in his early string quartets (Music and Letters, 2008). Her edition of Adalbert Gyrowetz's String Quartets Op. 29 is forthcoming, and an edition of six sextets by Paul Wranitzky was published in 2012. Her awards include an Edison Fellowship from the British Library, an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, and a Marsden grant from the New Zealand Royal Society. She is currently editing a three-volume set of fifteen string quartets by Beethoven's contemporary Emmanuel Aloys Förster.

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