Beethoven's middle-period quartets, Opp. 59, 74 and 95, are pieces that engage deeply with the aesthetic ideas of their time. In the first full contextual study of these works, Nancy November celebrates their uniqueness, exploring their reception history and early performance. In detailed analyses, she explores ways in which the quartets have both reflected and shaped the very idea of chamber music and offers a new historical understanding of the works' physical, visual, social and ideological aspects. In the process, November provides a fresh critique of three key paradigms in current Beethoven studies: the focus on his late period; the emphasis on 'heroic' style in discussions of the middle period; and the idea of string quartets as 'pure', 'autonomous' artworks, cut off from social moorings. Importantly, this study shows that the quartets encompass a new lyric and theatrical impetus, which is an essential part of their unique, explorative character.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of pages: 298
Weight: 520 g
Dimensions: 243 x 170 x 16 mm
'The book, which considers Beethoven's string quartets of the middle period through numerous lenses, not only fills a previously existing gap in research, but also breaks new ground in terms of presentation and methods: questions of aesthetics, performance practice and analysis are all covered, as well as the reception history and narrative poetics of the string quartets. This bringing together of multiple perspectives leads to significant gains in knowledge.' Bernhard Appel, Director, Beethoven-Archiv and Beethoven-Haus Publishers, Bonn
'Nancy November's study of Beethoven's 'middle' quartets offers many important and original perspectives. Each of the five central chapters is organized around a different general topic, providing welcome breadth to the whole. Her readings of these canonical chamber works in terms of Beethoven's consuming interest in theatrical music will engage both listeners and scholars.' James Webster, Cornell University, New York
'This book catapults the scholarship on the middle-period quartets into the twenty-first century. It is a must-read for Beethoven scholars and should be of significant interest to students of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century music and culture.' Mark Ferraguto, Notes: The Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association
"This book catapults the scholarship on the middle-period quartets into the twenty-first century. It is a must-read for Beethoven scholars and should be of significant interest to students of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century music and culture."
Mark Ferraguto, Notes: The Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association