Combining musical insight and the most recent research, William Kinderman's Beethoven is both a richly drawn portrait of the man and a guide to his music. Kinderman traces the composer's intellectual and musical development from the early works written in Bonn to the Ninth Symphony and the late quartets. Throughout, he looks at compositions from different and original perspectives that show Beethoven's art as a union of sensuous and rational, of expression and structure. In analyses of individual pieces, Kinderman shows that the deepening of Beethoven's musical thought was a continuous process over decades of his life. Works discussed include the Joseph Cantata, many of the piano sonatas and variations, selected songs and other vocal pieces, Fidelio, the Missa solemnis, and the main chamber and symphonic music. Certain works, such as the song cycle An die ferne Geliebte, are illuminated in relation to Beethoven's personal life, and his response to the political and philosophical currents of his time can be seen in some of his greatest masterpieces. Rather than the conventional image of a heroic and tormented figure, what emerges here is a more complex, more fully rounded account of the composer. Although Beethoven's deafness and his other personal crises are addressed, together with his ever-increasing commitment to his art, so too are the lighter aspects of his personality: his humor, his love of puns, his great delight in juxtaposing the exalted and the commonplace.
Author Biography: William Kinderman is Professor of Music at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and author of the highly acclaimed Beethoven's Diabelli Variations (1989). He is a pianist and hasgiven lecture recitals in Canada, the United States, and Europe. His CD of the Diabelli Variations is on the Hyperion label.