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Beethoven: The Music and the Life

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  116 ratings  ·  16 reviews
This brilliant portrayal weaves Beethoven's musical and biographical stories into their historical and artistic contexts. Lewis Lockwood sketches the turbulent personal, historical, political, and cultural frameworks in which Beethoven worked and examines their effects on his music. "The result is that rarest of achievements, a profoundly humane work of scholarship that wi...more
Paperback, 624 pages
Published January 17th 2005 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published December 1st 2002)
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Barnaby Thieme
This is an extraordinary book and an invaluable guide to the works of Beethoven written for the intelligent layperson. He leads the reader through the history of Beethoven's major works and plots the course of his development from his early days worshiping at the altar of Haydn and Mozart to his eventual discovery of older ways of organizing musical ideas in the works of Handel and Bach. Lockwood brings the music to life with an enlivening analysis of structure and content that presupposes only...more
Michael
I honestly expected this book to be a memoir more than anything, but the focus is on the works with the necessary context behind them more then anything. As a music student, this is vital information - the book is now filled with post-its and underlinings, and I plan on refering to it in the future whenever working on the sonatas and chamber music it describes. There is little more to say about it than that. Even for the non-musician it is a fascinating book, though it is helpful to have some kn...more
Robin Friedman
Lewis Lockwood's "Beethoven: the Music and the Life" (2003)is an outstanding introduction to Beethoven, aimed at the nonspecialist rather than the scholar. Those readers who are new to Beethoven's music will find this book a guide to his major work. Readers familiar with Beethoven's music and life will find much to learn and enjoy as well. I found this a book to be savored. Reading the book, I think, will encourage the reader to explore further the inexhaustible richness of Beethoven's music.

Loc...more
David
"This passage has been stolen from Mozart..."

Lewis Lockwood’s Beethoven: The Music and the Life is a fabulous book. I cannot say enough about it. While he gives the reader a short biographical sketch of Beethoven’s life and times, Lockwood concentrates primarily on the music, analyzing nearly every work Beethoven produced. For the major works these analysis’ can be four, five, six pages or more. Lockwood’s great gift is the ability to explain these mostly instrumental works in language the gener...more
David
This book is a great achievement and will be of interest to people who want to further their knowledge of music and the possibilities in music and all of what music can be when its in the hands of a genius like Beethoven. One particular quote i like is "its bones (Beethoven's music) have a strange ability to regain flesh and blood when new generations are given access to its best works and are moved by the intelligence and humane values they embody.

Another great quote in the book is by ETA Hoffm...more
Lydia
This is an extraordinary book, a wonderful biography written for today's reader (c2003). Beethoven kept meticulous sketchbooks all his life, and was a very hard worker, of course, always profitably employed. I learned so much about his life and how to approach and learn from his music. My favorite quote is from a letter he wrote at age 41 in 1812 to a young admirer, Emilie: "Persevere, do not only practice your art, but endeavor also to fathom its inner meaning; it deserves this effort. For only...more
Simon
It's rather technical, written for people who know a lot about music. The biographical parts are less Freudian than Maynard Solomon, but it's not comprehensive enough to be an all-purpose biography. The author has strongly negative opinions about works where Beethoven stuck to the Viennese model, like the first symphony, the Op. 18, No. 3 string quartet, etc., which one might find irritating if one likes those pieces. Still overall it's worth reading, particularly if one has already read Solomon...more
Daniel
It's not Soloman, but it is very good. I remember the part on the 9th being really great. I think I never enjoyed that symphony so much as when I listened to it after reading Lockwood. Though I have never heard a good performance live. Just one in New York at Lincoln Center- sounds like a good start right?- in which people were bolting for the door during the finale.
Michael
Focused more on Beethoven's musical progression than his life biography, so if you don't know much about music got might not enjoy it as much. As such, he emphasizes Beethoven's influences far more than others - Mozart, Haydn, Bach and even Handel. Great analysis of the Ninth too.
Izabel
meu professor de piano certa vez me disse: qdo pronunciar o nome DELE, fique de pé.
leia o livro e entenda um pouco mais sobre este q definitivamente foi o melhor entre os melhores!!
John
I couldn't get thorough this one. The evaluation of the music is too much for the common reader. It might be more interesting for someone with a deep knowledge of classical music.
Grant Topjon
Lockwood writes a nice biography on a spectacular composer from the 19th Century, a very good book.
Daniel Michalak
A book searching more for the character of Beethoven and less for the character of his music.
Peter
Well written and researched... got a little long in the last third, but fun read overall.
Christopher
Good textbook for a course on Beethoven. Lots of detail on his life and stuff.
Angela
Still reading - very good so far
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