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Beethoven’s Chamber Music in Context
Title Details

320 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

300 line. Illustrations

Imprint: Boydell Press

Beethoven's Chamber Music in Context

by Angus Watson

  • Description
  • Reviews
This comprehensive survey shows how the larger scale works relate to Beethoven's chamber music and how the composer evolved an increasing freedom of form.
Beethoven's Chamber Music in Context provides professional and amateur musicians, and music lovers generally, with a complete survey of Beethoven's chamber music and the background to each individual work - the loyalty of patrons, musicians and friends on the one hand; increasing deafness and uncertain health on the other. Attention is paid to the influence of such large-scale compositions as the Eroica Symphony and Fidelio on the chamber music of his middle years and the Missa Solemnis and the Ninth Symphony on his late quartets. The author also lays stress on Beethoven's ever-increasing freedom of form - largely a result of his mastery of improvisationand a powerful symbol of the fusion of classical discipline with the subversive spirit of romantic adventure which characterises his mature music.
Beethoven's friends were not shy about asking him what his music meant, orwhat inspired him, and it is clear that he attached the greatest importance to the words he used when describing the character of his compositions. 'The tempo is more like the body,' he wrote when commending Malzel's invention ofthe metronome, 'but these indications of character certainly refer to the spirit.'

Angus Watson, a violinist and conductor, has been Director of Music at Stowe School, Winchester College and Wells Cathedral School, one of Britain's specialist music schools. From 1984-1989 he was Dean of Music at the newly founded Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
"As sort of Baedecker guide for travelling the immense continent of Beethoven's chamber works, it provides an excellent occasion for a guided chronological hearing of his music. [...] revealing and rewarding." AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
"It's a pleasure to encounter this book... [Watson's] vibrant descriptions of formally titled and essentially abstract pieces give them a face that anyone new to or perplexed by Beethoven's creations might find helpful. [...] all who are smitten by Beethoven's music are in for a treat." GRAMOPHONE
"[Watson's] lucid, intrepid chronicle is an absorbing read, so beautifully written and intellectually involving that it might be a 300-page essay. The wealth of insight and details Watson provides ensures that any reader's enjoyment of Beethoven will be substantially improved. For musicians, this is an essential handbook." STRINGS
"You too can become a Beethoven expert [...] with Angus Watson's lucid, intrepid chronicle of how the music came to be, what makes it tick, and why we keep listening to and playing it. [...] In addition [...] Watson provides the kind of color commentary that most pre-concert lecturers only dream about." HUFFINGTON POST
"[E]ven readers thoroughly familiar with these works will find something of interest here on practically every one of them, in Watson's compact but incisive descriptions, his enthusiastic tone, and his engaging historical material." MUSIC & LETTERS
"This volume comprehends nearly the entirety of Beethoven's chamber output. [...] It offers perhaps the only English language coverage of this same territory, and the biographical material seems admirably up-to-date. [...] Recommended." CHOICE
"Watson writes very well indeed, perceptively, without a hint of dryness, and aided by a generous number of music examples. [...] This book deserves a whole-hearted recommendation." CLASSICAL MUSIC
"Beethoven's Chamber Music in Context [...] is an excellent, comprehensive, authoritative and extremely enjoyable study of a subject about which most readers are sure to emerge better informed for reading the book. ... [It's] likely to remain standard for some long time." CLASSICAL.NET

Paperback

9781843837169

April 2012

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$24.95 / £17.99

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Ebook (EPDF)

9781846159091

November 2010

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Ebook (EPUB)

9781782041481

November 2010

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Title Details

320 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

300 line. Illustrations

Imprint: Boydell Press