Beethoven’s Conversation Books Volume 1
Title Details

424 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

1 b/w, 10 line illus.

Series: Beethoven’s Conversation Books

Imprint: Boydell Press

Beethoven's Conversation Books Volume 1

Nos. 1 to 8 (February 1818 to March 1820)

Edited and translated by Theodore Albrecht

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
  • Reviews
A complete new edition of Beethoven's conversation books, now translated into English in their entirety for the first time. Covering a period associated with the revolutionary style of what we call "late Beethoven", these often lively and compelling conversations are now finally accessible in English for the scholar and Beethoven-lover.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is recognized the world over as a composer of musical masterpieces exhibiting heroic strength, particularly in the face of his increasing deafness from ca. 1798. By 1818, the Viennese composer hadbegun carrying blank booklets with him, for his acquaintances to jot their sides of conversations, while he answered aloud. Often, he himself used the pocket-sized booklets to make shopping lists and other reminders, including occasional early sketches for his compositions. Today, 139 of these booklets survive, covering the years 1818 up to the composer's death in 1827 and including such topics as music, history, politics, art, literature, theatre, religion, and education as perceived on a day-to-day basis in post-Napoleonic Europe. An East German edition, begun in the 1960s and essentially complete by 2001, represents a diplomatic transcription of these documents. It is a masterpiece of pure scholarship but is difficult to use for anyone who is not a specialist. Moreover, Beethoven scholarship has moved on significantly since the long-ranging genesis of the German edition.
These important booklets arehere translated into English in their entirety for the first time. The volumes in this series include an updated editorial apparatus, with revised and expanded notes and many new footnotes exclusive to this edition, and brand newintroductions, which together place many of the quickly changing conversational topics into context. Due to the editor's many years of research in Vienna, his acquaintance with its history and topography, as well as his familiarity with obscure documentary resources, this edition represents an entirely new venture in source studies - vitally informative for scholars not only in music but also in a wide variety of disciplines. At the same time, these oftenlively and compelling conversations are now finally accessible for the English-speaking music lover or history buff who might want to dip into them and hear what Beethoven and his friends were discussing at the next table.

THEODORE ALBRECHT is Professor of Musicology at Kent State University, Ohio.
General Introduction to the English Edition
Heft 1 (ca. February 26, 1818 - after March 2, 1818)
Heft 2 (March 17, 1819 - after May 15/16, 1819)
Heft 3 (November 20, 1819 - ca. December 6, 1819)
Heft 4 (December 7, 1819 - December 12, 1819)
Heft 5 (December 13, 1819 - December 30, 1819)
Heft 6 (ca. January 7, 1820 - January 26, 1820)
Heft 7 (ca. January 27, 1820 - February 22, 1820)
Heft 8 (ca. February 22, 1820 - ca. March 11, 1820)
Appendix A: Descriptions of the Conversation Books in Volume 1
Bibliography

THEODORE ALBRECHT, Professor Emeritus of Music at Kent State University, Ohio, is an award-winning Beethoven scholar. He has authored many important articles on the composer and is the editor of Letters to Beethoven and Other Correspondence (1996) as well as translator and editor of Beethoven's Conversation Books (Boydell Press).

"[T]hese volumes are welcome additions to the literature. They contain much of value for those interested in the last decade of Beethoven's life, particularly concerning his social circle, his daily routine, and his ideas and beliefs. One can only hope that the remaining ten volumes are published soon." Marten Noorduin, NOTES, THE QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF THE MUSIC LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
"Featured in the10 must-read books for Beethoven 250," BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
"[A] monumental endeavor. . . . Thanks to Albrecht's Herculean task, the interdisciplinary work of scholars in German studies, linguists, historians, musicologists, anthropologists, and other Beethoven-investigating scholars should and can begin their share of work in trying to make sense of these un-premeditated fragments of premodern life in Metternich-period Vienna." Peter Höyng, JOURNAL OF AUSTRIAN STUDIES
"A very professional translation...conversations about wine, travel arrangements, the value of bank shares, the best stationery shop for quills, pretty waitresses, a malfunctioning stove, how Karl's Greek examination went...this helps the process of de-mythologizing Beethoven the man - but not devaluing Beethoven the composer." BRIO
"Important and fascinating...the books give a remarkable record of Beethoven's activities during the period, revealing a great deal not only about matters that preoccupied him...but also his daily routine, movements and eating habits." THE CONSORT
"These remarkable documents provide a fascinating glimpse into Beethoven's daily life, activities, interests, concerns, and opinions during his last decade. . . . Theodore Albrecht undertook the formidable task of not only translating all 139 books (Hefte) and presenting them in 'modern conversational American English' but also of providing copious footnotes that clarify identities of writers and details of chronology and context." THE BEETHOVEN JOURNAL
"An extraordinary in-depth portrait of the composer's last years...state-of-the-art scholarship in an enjoyably accessible manner. Five Stars, Michael Church," BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
"[A] noble effort which for almost 200 years many people have thought important enough to compile. The fact the hefts [books] still exist after two 20th Century wars is amazing." AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
"A brilliantly accessible piece of scholarship. . . . As they flash from scene to scene, with a huge cast of characters taking turns in the spotlight, these extraordinary little books read like a film script, with a laconic but massive presence at its heart. It's a goldmine for music historians, and a riveting saga for the rest of us." Michael Church, BBC Music Magazine

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9781783271504

May 2018

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Title Details

424 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

1 b/w, 10 line illus.

Series: Beethoven’s Conversation Books

Imprint: Boydell Press