Beethovenby Barry Cooper
The connections between a great artist's life and work are subtle, complex, and often highly revealing. In the case of Beethoven, however, the standard approach has been to treat his life and his art separately. Now, Barry Cooper's new volume incorporates the latest international research on many aspects of the composer's life and work and presents these in a truly… See more details below
The connections between a great artist's life and work are subtle, complex, and often highly revealing. In the case of Beethoven, however, the standard approach has been to treat his life and his art separately. Now, Barry Cooper's new volume incorporates the latest international research on many aspects of the composer's life and work and presents these in a truly integrated narrative.
Cooper employs a strictly chronological approach that enables each work to be seen against the musical and biographical background from which it emerged. The result is a much closer confluence of life and work than is usually achieved, for two reasons. First, composition was Beethoven's central preoccupation for most of his life: "I live entirely in my music," he once wrote. Second, recent study of his many musical sketches has enabled a much clearer picture of his everyday compositional activity than was previously possible, leading to rich new insights into the interaction between his life and music. This volume concentrates on Beethoven's artistic achievements both by examining the origins of his works and by expert commentary on some of their most striking and original features. It also reexamines virtually all the evidencefrom fictitious anecdotes right down to the translations of individual German wordsto avoid recycling old errors. And it offers numerous new details derived from sketch studies and a new edition of Beethoven's correspondence.
Offering a wealth of fresh conclusions and intertwining life and work in illuminating ways, Beethoven will establish itself as the reference on one of the world's greatest composers.
"Cooper has produced a comprehensive and valuable reference source.... In addition to the sizeable bibliography, a detailed list of Beethoven's compositions, a few illustrations and numerous musical examples, there is a 'calendar'...giving a year-by-year summary of Beethoven's activity against a backdrop of other events in the world of music, and there is also a very useful 'personalia' listing more than a hundred individuals of significance in Beethoven's life, with concise but pertinent background."--Richard Freed, The Washington Post
"Barry Cooper has crafted a thoroughly refreshing and reliable new biography for the 21st century. He seamlessly recounts the story of Beethoven's life and music with clarity and vigour, avoiding both hero worship and hostile attempts to tumble the composer from some imaginary throne. Cautious where caution is warranted yet perfectly willing to hypothesize, Cooper sets just the right tone in reporting and reflecting on modern Beethoven scholarship." --William R. Meredith, Director, The Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies (www.sjsu.edu/depts/Beethoven)
Meet the Author
Barry Cooper is Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Manchester and author of Beethoven and the Creative Process and Beethoven's Folksong Settings.
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While Barry Cooper clearly knows Beethoven well (and I commend him for it) this was one of the dryest books I have ever read. Though it contains many interesting quotations from Beethoven himself and some insightful thoughts from Cooper as well, it was simply impossible to get through. I would not recommend this book unless you were a practiced musician who understands complex musical terms or a musical historian willing to suffer through it. I would DEFINETLY not suggest this to children (teenagers as well) who were trying to do a school project on their favorite composer (perhaps it is wishful thinking to assume that many children have a favorite composer let alone know what a composer is). Nevertheless, if you are willing to put up with its dry spells (which consume most of the book) you will gain an informed and intuitive new perspective on one of history's most talented musicians. ~If you are are someone who actually read the book cover to cover I congratulate you and envy your patience.