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- Author: Nicholas Mathew, University of California, Berkeley
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Musicians, music lovers and music critics have typically considered Beethoven's overtly political music as an aberration; at best, it is merely notorious, at worst, it is denigrated and ignored. In Political Beethoven Nicholas Mathew returns to the musical and social contexts of the composer's political music throughout his career – from the early marches and anti-French war songs of the 1790s to the grand orchestral and choral works for the Congress of Vienna – to argue that this marginalized functional art has much to teach us about the lofty Beethovenian sounds that came to define serious music in the nineteenth century. Beethoven's much-maligned political compositions, Mathew shows, lead us into the intricate political and aesthetic contexts that shaped all of his oeuvre, thus revealing the stylistic, ideological and psycho-social mechanisms that gave Beethoven's music such a powerful voice – a voice susceptible to repeated political appropriation, even to the present day.Read more
- A brand new account of the relationship between Beethoven's music and the political life, both in his own time and up to the present - there has never been a study that has treated the subject of Beethoven and politics so comprehensively, from both historical and theoretical points of view
- Explains Beethoven's prominence in the musical life of the West in terms of the political power of his music
- Discusses and contextualises the denigrated 'political music' that Beethoven composed throughout his life to make this the only source available to find out about certain works and their contexts
- Of relevance to music historiography of the entire nineteenth century
Reviews & endorsements
"In this meticulously researched volume, the author offers many intriguing points." --CHOICESee more reviews
In writing Political Beethoven, Nicholas Mathew has provided a thoroughly-researched and fascinating look at the composer’s lesser-known works, giving a vivid description of the music, criticism, and theatricality of the period surrounding the Congress of Vienna.’ Jane Riegel Ferencz, Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association
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- Date Published: December 2012
- format: Adobe eBook Reader
- isbn: 9781139603188
- contains: 8 b/w illus. 1 table 44 music examples
- availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
Table of Contents
Introduction: political collaborations
1. Music between myth and history
2. Beethoven's moments
3. The sounds of power and the power of sound
4. The inner public
5. After the war
Appendix: eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century musical sources consulted.
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