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Experiencing Beethoven: A Listener's Companion

Experiencing Beethoven: A Listener's Companion

by Geoffrey Block


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The life and music of Beethoven still fascinate classical music lovers, new and old. His many symphonies, sonatas, concertos, string quartets, and his one opera enchant audiences, challenge performers, engage students, and support scholars in their work. In Experiencing Beethoven, music historian Geoffrey Block explores in layman's terms a highly representative body of about two dozen Beethoven instrumental and vocal works, offering listeners who know him well, or are just discovering him, an opportunity to grasp the breadth and depth of his musical genius.

Designed for those unversed in musical terminology or theory, Experiencing Beethoven places the composer's works within the evolving context of his personal and professional life and social and cultural milieu. Block sheds light on the public and private audiences of Beethoven's music, from the concerts for the composer's own financial benefit to the debut of the "Eroica" Symphony at the palace of Prince Lobkowitz to the historic public premiere of his Ninth Symphony.

Experiencing Beethoven paints a portrait of the composer's youth in Bonn, his early triumphs and artistic maturation in Vienna, and-despite the challenges his music posed to his contemporaries- the recognition he received during his lifetime as the most acclaimed composer of the era. Block conveys the range and scope of Beethoven's achievement, from his heroic style to his lyricism, grappling throughout with the composer's power to communicate his idealistic musical vision to listeners in both his time and ours. Finally, Experiencing Beethoven explores why Beethoven's music continues to enjoy an unwavering appeal in an age saturated with a range of musical styles.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442245457
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 10/16/2016
Series: Listener's Companion Series
Pages: 290
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Geoffrey Block is distinguished professor of music history at the University of Puget Sound. He is the author of Ives: “Concord” Sonata (1996), Enchanted Evenings: The Broadway Musical from “Show Boat” to Sondheim and Lloyd Webber (1997; 2nd ed. 2009), and Richard Rodgers (2003), a co-editor and contributor to Charles Ives and the Classical Tradition (1996), the editor of The Richard Rodgers Reader (2002), and the editor of two series of books on the American musical.

Table of Contents

1. "The Spirit of Mozart" (1770-1792)
2. "From the Hands of Haydn" (1792-1801)
3. The "Heroic" Style (1802-1806)
4. Fidelio: Beethoven's One and Only Opera (1805-06 and 1814)
5. Symphonic Alternatives to the Heroic Style (1807-1814)
6. Beethoven and Song
7. The Late Piano Music (1816-1824)
8. Daiku: The Big Ninth
9. The String Quartet in C# Minor, Op. 131
Selected Reading
Selected Listening

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