Cover image for Beethoven : the music and the life
Beethoven : the music and the life
Lockwood, Lewis.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Norton, [2003]

Physical Description:
xix, 604 pages : illustrations, music ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML410.B4 L597 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
ML410.B4 L597 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
ML410.B4 L597 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
ML410.B4 L597 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
ML410.B4 L597 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
ML410.B4 L597 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
ML410.B4 L597 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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In this brilliant portrayal of the world's most famous composer, eminent Beethoven scholar Lewis Lockwood interweaves his subject's musical and biographical dimensions and places them in their historical and artistic contexts. Written for the lay reader, the book describes the special problems Beethoven faced as a highly gifted artist who fulfilled his destiny as Mozart's main successor while remaining a true, rebellious original. It sketches the turbulent personal, historical, political, and cultural frameworks in which Beethoven worked and demonstrates their effects on his music. Finally, it turns to the composer in his last years, with great achievements behind him, surmounting the crisis of finding still further artistic paths by which to continue. Also, by providing glimpses into the composer's sketchbooks and autograph manuscripts, Lockwood allows us to gain substantial insights into Beethoven's compositional methods. In a publishing first, musically literate readers will find some one hundred notated music examples on a special Web site. 50 illustrations, 8 music examples.

Author Notes

Lewis Lockwood, Fanny Peabody Research Professor of Music at Harvard University.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Beethoven linked the Classical and Romantic periods in music. His early compositions reflected Mozart's influence and the example of the mature Haydn's work. Creativity, imagination, an acute mind, and a musical ear led Beethoven to explore new formal and harmonic structures, and his middle period includes most of his string quartets, piano sonatas, and symphonies--vehicles of his exploration. In his last period he produced his most romantic and grandest pieces. Lockwood relies upon Beethoven's sketchbooks, diaries, conversation books (used when he was very deaf), and letters to show how Beethoven developed his music. He provides background on historical and political events, including the French Revolution and rise of Napoleon, that influenced Beethoven. Along with some 50 music examples that are available on a Web site, Lockwood analyzes Beethoven's major compositions and shows how his musical thought grew. Coherent and eminently readable, this is a book that will complete anyone's understanding of one of the most innovative composers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, who remains influential and popular today. Alan Hirsch

Publisher's Weekly Review

Although he breaks no new ground, Lockwood (a Harvard professor emeritus in music and a leading Beethoven scholar) does offer an extremely cogent account of the works as they relate to the well-known three phases of Beethoven's remarkable creative life. It's appropriate that the title places the music first, because it is Lockwood's highly observant account of the composer's musical development that will strike readers most forcibly. There is nothing much new to say about the life, and here Lockwood only goes through the motions, pausing only to observe that despite all the speculation, it is doubtful that Beethoven ever enjoyed the physical love of a woman, notwithstanding his many infatuations and sometimes passionate letters. On the music, however, he has many fine insights, particularly into Beethoven's very conscious and determined development of his skills, and his often-neglected splendor as a melodist. A regular Beethoven listener could do worse than use Lockwood's accounts of the works, particularly the middle and late ones-he's inclined to give scant shrift to anything before the Opus 18 quartets-as concert or record notes, written at exactly the right pitch for knowledgeable music lovers who don't have a score in front of them. Lockwood is also thorough regarding the impact of such previous masters as Handel, Bach, Mozart and Haydn on Beethoven's art. Many illustrations not seen by PW; in an unusual extra, about 100 musical examples linked to the book are available on a dedicated Web site. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Beethoven's life and work figure in this biography from an emeritus Harvard professor. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Many books on one composer claim to examine life and music in detail, but few do so with greater clarity, insight, and imagination than this volume written by preeminent Beethoven scholar Lewis Lockwood (Harvard Univ.). In 21 chapters, arranged chronologically and covering all the major works, Lockwood draws and fleshes out in full a portrait of the man and the composer (e.g., contrary to legend Beethoven was able to be modest and kind, as evidenced in an 1812 letter to a child, and he was able to write beautiful melodies). The author offers in-depth coverage of the historical, political, and intellectual currents of the day, so that one sees Beethoven from a different perspective. As Lockwood brings the times to life, a sharper picture of Beethoven emerges. Beethoven's individual view of religion seems less distinctive when placed in the context of other liberal religions of the period. Although not meant in any way to be a comprehensive account of current research, this book--with its useful bibliography--covers a broad territory. If only one book on Beethoven were allotted shelf space in a library, this would be the one. The prose is accessible and for musical examples (though not audio) readers can go to . ^BSumming Up: Essential. All music collections. M. N.-H. Cheng Colgate University

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. xiii
Prefacep. xv
Prologue. Youth, Maturity, Old Age: Three Lettersp. 3
1787: The Death of Beethoven's Motherp. 3
1812: Letter to a Childp. 8
1826: The Old Childp. 12
Life and Worksp. 15
Part 1 The Early Years 1770-1792
1. Beginningsp. 25
Bonn as a Musical Centerp. 25
Bach from the Hands of Neefep. 31
Kant, Schiller, and the Enlightenmentp. 35
Max Franz and the Mozart Legacyp. 38
Family, Friends, and Patronsp. 42
To Vienna in Search of Mozartp. 46
The Last Years in Bonnp. 47
Waldstein's Prophecyp. 50
2. Music of the Bonn Yearsp. 53
Early Keyboard Musicp. 53
"This passage has been stolen from Mozart"p. 55
Composing and Sketchingp. 62
Cantatas for Two Emperorsp. 64
Part 2 The First Maturity 1792-1802
3. The First Years in Viennap. 69
The Political Atmospherep. 69
Vienna as a Musical Centerp. 73
Confronting the Viennese Aristocracyp. 74
Haydnp. 80
Playing for an Elector and a Kingp. 86
Entering the Publishing Worldp. 88
4. Music of the First Vienna Yearsp. 93
Revising Earlier Worksp. 93
Chamber Music and Piano Sonatasp. 96
5. Years of Crisisp. 111
Deafnessp. 111
The Heiligenstadt Testamentp. 115
6. Music for and with Pianop. 124
The "New Way" and the Early Sketchbooksp. 124
A Laboratory of Invention: More Piano Sonatasp. 130
From Convention to Originality: Piano Variationsp. 140
New Violin Sonatasp. 142
The Earlier Piano Concertosp. 144
7. Music for Orchestra and the First Quartetsp. 147
The First Symphony and the Prometheus Balletp. 147
The French Dimension and Military Musicp. 151
The Second Symphonyp. 156
Opus 18: "I have now learned how to write string quartets"p. 159
8. The First Maturity: An Overviewp. 169
Part 3 The Second Maturity 1802-1812
9. Beethoven in the New Agep. 181
Napoleon and Self-Made Greatnessp. 181
Beethoven and His Milieup. 187
Relations with Womenp. 196
10. New Symphonic Idealsp. 202
The Heroic and the Beautifulp. 202
The Third Symphony (Eroica)p. 204
The Fourth Symphonyp. 214
The Fifth and Sixth ("Pastoral") Symphoniesp. 217
The Seventh and Eighth Symphoniesp. 230
11. The Mature Concertosp. 238
The New Symphonie concertante: The Triple Concertop. 238
The Fourth Piano Concertop. 241
The Violin Concertop. 245
The "Emperor" Concertop. 248
12. Music for the Stagep. 252
The Opera Leonore and Its Overturesp. 255
The Coriolanus Overturep. 262
Incidental Music for Goethe's Egmontp. 266
13. Vocal Musicp. 269
Oratorio and Massp. 269
The Songsp. 274
14. Beethoven at the Keyboardp. 280
Improvising and Composing at the Pianop. 280
Pianosp. 288
The "Waldstein" and "Appassionata" Sonatasp. 292
Piano Sonatas Opp. 79-81ap. 299
Lyrical and Monumental Chamber Musicp. 303
15. String Quartetsp. 312
The "Razumovsky" Quartetsp. 312
The "Harp" Quartet and the "Quartetto Serioso"p. 325
Part 4 The Final Maturity 1813-1827
16. The "Fallow" Yearsp. 333
The Congress of Viennap. 334
Lighter Worksp. 336
Celebrating Wellington's Victoryp. 337
Fideliop. 341
New Sonatasp. 342
An die ferne Geliebtep. 344
Emergence of the Late Stylep. 346
17. Beethoven's Inner and Outer Worldsp. 349
Isolation and Deafnessp. 349
The Guardianship Strugglep. 355
"The human brain ... is not a salable commodity"p. 358
The Final Projectsp. 363
18. Bringing the Past into the Presentp. 366
The Third Maturityp. 366
Beethoven's Knowledge of Bach and Handelp. 370
19. Late Piano Musicp. 377
The Hammerklavier Sonata, Opus 106p. 377
Piano Sonatas Opp. 109-111p. 384
The "Diabelli" Variationsp. 391
The Late Bagatellesp. 395
20. The Celestial and the Humanp. 400
The Missa solemnisp. 400
The Ninth Symphonyp. 411
The Political Background of the Ninthp. 413
Changing Views of the Ninthp. 417
Composing the Ninthp. 424
The Character of the Ninthp. 427
21. Timeless Music: The Last Quartetsp. 441
Introductionp. 441
Opus 127p. 446
Opus 132p. 452
Opus 130 and the Grand Fuguep. 458
Opus 131p. 468
Opus 135p. 479
Final Thoughtsp. 488
Notesp. 491
Chronologyp. 551
Bibliographyp. 559
Classified Index of Beethoven's Worksp. 579
Index of Beethoven's Works by Opus Numberp. 585
General Indexp. 591