Originally published as the centenary celebration volume in the Master Musicians series, Barry Cooper's Beethoven incorporates international research on many aspects of the composer's life and work and presents these in a truly integrated narrative. His chronological approach enables each work to be seen against the musical and biographical background from which it emerged. The resulting highly readable confluence of life and work is made possible - and indeed required - by the fact that composition was Beethoven's central preoccupation for most of his life, and Cooper presents a clear picture of his day-to-day compositional activity. This volume concentrates on Beethoven's artistic achievements both by examining the origins of his works and by expert commentary on some of their most striking and original features. It also reexamines virtually all the evidence - from fictitious anecdotes right down to the translations of individual German words - to avoid recycling old errors.
Cooper makes impressive use of Beethoven's sketch books and conversation books in a well-formulated effort to settle controversial matters - particularly those surrounding Anton Schindler, close associate of the composer during the 1820s and infamous subject of current discussion in Beethoven studies. A unique edition of Beethoven's correspondence rounds out this presentation of one of history's greatest composers. Offering a wealth of fresh conclusions and intertwining life and work in illuminating ways, Beethoven is an essential reference for students, scholars, and everyone interested in classical music.