Beethoven's Chamber Music in Context

November 2010
300 line illustrations
318 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Library eBook
Boydell Press

Beethoven's Chamber Music in Context

Angus Watson

eBook for Handhelds
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.
Watson 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 examines Beethoven's ever-increasing freedom of form - largely a result of his mastery of improvisation and 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, or what 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 of the 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.

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Keywords: Music

Table of Contents

Foreword by David Cairns
Arrival and Re-launch in Vienna [1792]
Beethoven, Pianist and String Player
Amateurs, Patrons and Professionals
'The Spirit of the Composition'
Three Piano Trios, op.1 [1793-1795]
Two Sonatas for Cello and Piano, op. 5 [1796]
Three Sonatas for Violin and Piano, op. 12 [1797-1798]
Five String Trios, op. 3, op. 8 [Serenade], op. 9 [1794?-1798]
Chamber Music for Wind, Strings and Piano [1795?-1799], Piano and Wind Quintet/Piano Quartet, op. 16, Clarinet Trio, op. 11, Septet, op. 20, Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola, op. 25
Six String Quartets, op. 18 [1798-1800]
Two Sonatas for Violin and Piano, op. 23 and op. 24 [1800-1801]
String Quintet in C major, op. 29 [1801]
Three Sonatas for Violin and Piano, op. 30 [1802]
Sonata no. 9 for Violin and Piano, op. 47, Kreutzer [1802-3]
In the wake of Fidelio [1804-1806]
Three String Quartets, op. 59 Razumovsky [1806]
Sonata no. 3 in A major for Cello and Piano, op. 69 [1807-1808]
Two Piano Trios, op. 70 [1808]
String Quartet no. 10 in Eb major, op. 74 Harp [1809]
String Quartet no. 11 in F minor, op. 95, Quartetto Serioso [1810]
Piano Trio no. 7 in Bb major, op. 97 Archduke [1810]
Sonata no. 10 for Violin and Piano in G major, op. 96 [1812]
Two Sonatas for Cello and Piano, op. 102 [1815]
The Late String Quartets - Background and Context
String Quartet no. 12 in E flat major, op. 127 [1824-25]
String Quartet no. 13 in A minor, op. 132 [1825]
String Quartet no. 14 in B flat major, op. 130 [1825-26]
Grosse Fuge, op. 133 [1825-26]
String Quartet no. 15 in C sharp minor, op. 131 [1826]
String Quartet no. 16 in F major, op. 135 [1826]


[M]ost effective as an introductory guide to any or all of Beethoven's major chamber works. Yet even 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

[Watson] takes us into the spirit of each of the instrumental sonatas, trios and quartets - into their heart and soul as it were - and brings them to life in all their deep feeling, variety and colour. ... [he] shares with us his affection and enthusiasm for these marvellous works. STRINGENDO

Filling a hole in scholarship on Beethoven's compositions, this book will be greatly appreciated by professional and amateur musicians. BOOK NEWS

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
Angus Watson, himself a professional string-player, has [...] written an excellent book on Beethoven's complete chamber music. [...] 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. Musicians, listeners and even those interested in artistic endeavour in general [...] will all find the book rewarding. ... [It's] likely to remain standard for some long time. CLASSICAL.NET

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