Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review of "Beethoven" by Barry Cooper

A heady mix of history which focuses on music theory, Cooper’s biography of Beethoven is everything the music scholar could hope for.  The best and lesser known of the great composer’s works are broken down for style, theme, and technique, all in the context of Beethoven’s career.  Thus, for those looking for an in depth look at his personal life, more speculative but perhaps interesting information can be found elsewhere.  If music composition and theory are your bag, however, then by all means check out Cooper’s survey of Beethoven and his work.  Based on the depth each piece is examined, it seems impossible not be disappointed on this front.  For myself, a non-scholar, skipping the super technical yet diving into the thematic expositions has proven itself invaluable listening to the concertos, symphonies, and quartets, since.  Therefore, be warned that in Beethoven, the music not the man takes center stage.

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