Friday, January 11, 2013

Beethoven after Napoleon

Political Romanticism in the Late Works

Stephen Rumph (Author)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 304 pages
ISBN: 9780520238558
August 2004
$60.00, £41.95
Other Formats Available:

In this provocative analysis of Beethoven's late style, Stephen Rumph demonstrates how 
deeply political events shaped the composer's music, from his early enthusiasm for the 
French Revolution to his later entrenchment during the Napoleonic era. Impressive in 
its breadth of research as well as for its devotion to interdisciplinary work in music 
history,Beethoven after Napoleon challenges accepted views by illustrating the influence
 of German Romantic political thought in the formation of the artist's mature style. 
Beethoven's political views, Rumph argues, were not quite as liberal as many have 
assumed. While scholars agree that the works of the Napoleonic era such as the 
Eroica Symphony or Fidelio embody enlightened, revolutionary ideals of progress, 
freedom, and humanism, Beethoven's later works have attracted less political commentary. 
Rumph contends that the later works show clear affinities with a native German ideology 
that exalted history, religion, and the organic totality of state and society. He claims 
that as the Napoleonic Wars plunged Europe into political and economic turmoil, 
Beethoven's growing antipathy to the French mirrored the experience of his Romantic 
contemporaries. Rumph maintains that Beethoven's turn inward is no pessimistic retreat 
but a positive affirmation of new conservative ideals.

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