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Beethoven's Symphonies

An Artistic Vision


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An exploration of the unswerving artistic vision underlying Beethoven’s symphonies, from a leading scholar of the composer’s works.

Lewis Lockwood’s compelling story introduces each symphony as an individual artwork and traces the creative background of each, set against the contemporary political upheavals, the growth of concert life and the relationship to his major works in other genres. From the first symphonies to the monumental Ninth, his lifelong passion to compose works of transcendent aesthetic and moral value is brilliantly brought to life.


“...[Lockwood] paints a vivid picture of the creative context of each [symphony].” — James Macmillan, Standpoint

“[This] book will surely inspire new interest in Beethoven’s durable masterpieces.” — The New York Review of Books

“No one brings Beethoven’s music to life as vividly as Lewis Lockwood. A towering achievement.” — Alan Gilbert, music director, New York Philharmonic

“This remarkable book is much more than a guide to Beethoven’s symphonies. By granting us access to the composer’s workshop, Lockwood reveals a faltering human being whose unfaltering artistic resolution remains one of the great stories of the human spirit.” — Scott Burnham, Scheide Professor of Music History, Princeton University

“Lockwood has given music lovers a great gift. By looking at historical context—who listened to Beethoven, what he read—and how the symphonies were planned, the reader gets a unique view of the creative process of one of our greatest musical minds.” — Yo-Yo Ma

“Lockwood elegantly imparts an enormous amount of fascinating detail, placing each symphony in the context of Beethoven’s work in other genres and concert activity. What a pleasure to read!” — Emanuel Ax, pianist

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