Beethoven's Chamber Music in Context provides professional and amateur musicians, and music lovers generally, with a complete survey of Beethoven's chamber music and the background to each individual work - the loyalty of patrons, musicians and friends on the one hand; increasing deafness and uncertain health on the other. Attention is paid to the influence of such large-scale compositions as the Eroica Symphony and Fidelio on the chamber music of his middle years and the Missa Solemnis and the Ninth Symphony on his late quartets. The author also lays stress on Beethoven's ever-increasing freedom of form - largely a result of his mastery of improvisation and a powerful symbol of the fusion of classical discipline with the subversive spirit of romantic adventure which characterises his mature music. Beethoven's friends were not shy about asking him what his music meant, or what inspired him, and it is clear that he attached the greatest importance to the words he used when describing the character of his compositions. 'The tempo is more like the body,' he wrote when commending Malzel's invention of the metronome, 'but these indications of character certainly refer to the spirit.'
Angus Watson, a violinist and conductor, has been Director of Music at Stowe School, Winchester College and Wells Cathedral School, one of Britain's specialist music schools. From 1984-1989 he was Dean of Music at the newly founded Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
It's a pleasure to encounter this book... [Watson's] vibrant descriptions of formally titled and essentially abstract pieces give them a face that anyone new to or perplexed by Beethoven's creations might find helpful. [...] all who are smitten by Beethoven's music are in for a treat. GRAMOPHONE
[Watson's] lucid, intrepid chronicle is an absorbing read, so beautifully written and intellectually involving that it might be a 300-page essay. The wealth of insight and details Watson provides ensures that any reader's enjoyment of Beethoven will be substantially improved. For musicians, this is an essential handbook. STRINGS
You too can become a Beethoven expert [...] with Angus Watson's lucid, intrepid chronicle of how the music came to be, what makes it tick, and why we keep listening to and playing it. [...] In addition [...] Watson provides the kind of color commentary that most pre-concert lecturers only dream about. HUFFINGTON POST
[M]ost effective as an introductory guide to any or all of Beethoven's major chamber works. Yet even readers thoroughly familiar with these works will find something of interest here on practically every one of them, in Watson's compact but incisive descriptions, his enthusiastic tone, and his engaging historical material. MUSIC & LETTERS
This volume comprehends nearly the entirety of Beethoven's chamber output. [...] It offers perhaps the only English language coverage of this same territory, and the biographical material seems admirably up-to-date. [...] Recommended. CHOICE Angus Watson, himself a professional string-player, has [...] written an excellent book on Beethoven's complete chamber music. [...] Watson writes very well indeed, perceptively, without a hint of dryness, and aided by a generous number of music examples. [...] This book deserves a whole-hearted recommendation. CLASSICAL MUSIC
Beethoven's Chamber Music in Context [...] is an excellent, comprehensive, authoritative and extremely enjoyable study of a subject about which most readers are sure to emerge better informed for reading the book. Musicians, listeners and even those interested in artistic endeavour in general [...] will all find the book rewarding. ... [It's] likely to remain standard for some long time. CLASSICAL.NET
First Published: 19 Apr 2012 13 Digit ISBN: 9781843837169 Pages: 318 Size: 23.4 x 15.6 Binding: Paperback Imprint: Boydell Press Subject: Music BIC Class: AV