Many books have been written about Beethoven but it is rare to find one which seeks an alternative to the tendency of academia, on the one hand, to fragmentation, and of popular biographical writing, on the other, to a superficial overview. In this volume, the late Carl Dahlhaus combines the interpretations of individual works with excursions into the musical aesthetics of the period around 1800, an age which was not only a `classical' period in the history
of the arts but also one in which aesthetics carved itself a place in the centre of philosophical attention. The theme of the book is the reconstruction of Beethoven's `musical thinking' from the evidence in the works themselves and their context in the history of ideas. A table entitled `Chronicle' places
the references to biographical data in their historical context. The selective bibliography includes comments to assist readers to find their way in the labyrinth of the literature about Beethoven.
`this book certainly confirms its author's reputation for grappling with serious issues. None of it makes for particularly easy reading, but time spent following the arguments certainly brings its own dividends.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
`newly (and beautifully) translated book'
Times Literary Supplement
`The translation is eminently readable, and the clarity of the technical musical analyses will allow even a general reader interested in Beethoven to gain a deeper appreciation of the music. Highly recommended for all collections.'
W.P. Dougherty, Plymouth State College, Choice Apr '92
'Translating such material is extremely difficult; Mary Whittall must be commended for understanding Dahlhaus's meanings so perceptively and retaining his style so closely.'
Barry Cooper, Music and Letters, Vol. 73, No. 3, Aug '92
` ... the Dahlhaus, sadly one of his last works, carries the weight of huge erudition and dynamic argument within the confines of a single monograph.'
Nicholas Williams, Musical Times
`This volume gives the musically well-educated individual an intriguing encounter with Beethoven's music as well as descriptions of numerous aesthetic facets from which it sprang ... there is much to stimulate thought and analysis ... the reader is likely to gain much insight to Beethoven's musical thought processes and total output ... it serves well as a reference volume ... there is much here of value ... for the rewards offered through careful reading
of the work are indeed significant.'
Samuel D. Miller, University of Houston, Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education
`with Dahlhaus's death in 1989 at the relatively early age of sixty, the loss to musicology and the humanities has been enormous ... His work will reverberate for a long time to come. No one can fail to admire Dahlhaus's richly provocative, probing approach; no category or question is immune from consideration.'
Lewis Lockwood, 19th Century Music
'Dahlhaus's Beethoven book (presented here in a fine translation) offers readers perhaps the steadiest and most reliable vantage on his method ... Dahlhaus's book stands as an increasingly lonely outpost, perhaps the last to come under the spell of aesthetic immanence with open eyes.'
Scott Burnham, Princeton University, Notes, March 1993