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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BeethovenUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
For 20 years, Solomon's Beethoven has served scholars and lay readers as one of the most enlightening studies of the life and works of this fascinating composer. Justly praised for his thoroughness ... Read full review
Review: BeethovenUser Review - Mike - Goodreads
One of the best biographies of a musician ever written. Solomon's solution of the "Immortal Beloved" puzzle is a brilliant piece of detective work. Read full review