Skip to main content

Beethoven: The Philosophy of Music

Beethoven: The Philosophy of Music

Theodor W. Adorno

ISBN: 978-0-745-69429-0

Oct 2015, Polity

288 pages

$23.99

Description

Beethoven is a classic study of the composer's music, written by one of the most important thinkers of our time. Throughout his life, Adorno wrote extensive notes, essay fragments and aides-memoires on the subject of Beethoven's music. This book brings together all of Beethoven's music in relation to the society in which he lived.

Adorno identifies three periods in Beethoven's work, arguing that the thematic unity of the first and second periods begins to break down in the third. Adorno follows this progressive disintegration of organic unity in the classical music of Beethoven and his contemporaries, linking it with the rationality and monopolistic nature of modern society.

Beethoven will be welcomed by students and researchers in a wide range of disciplines - philosophy, sociology, music and history - and by anyone interested in the life of the composer.
Editor's Preface.

1. Prelude.

2. Music and Concept.

3. Society.

4. Tonality.

5. Form and the Reconstruction of Form.

6. Critique.

7. Early and 'Classical' Phases.

8. Vers une analyse des symphonies. .

9. Late Style (I).

10. Late Work without Late Style.

11. Late Style (II).

12. Humanity and Demythologization.

Appendix.

Abbreviations.

Editor's Notes.

Editorial Afterword.

Comparative Table of Fragments.

Thematic Summary of Contents.

Indexes.

""Great works of art, Adorno knew, always resist the attempt to subsume them under theoretical categories. In the case of a supreme artist like Beethoven, a lifetime of futile efforts by Adorno to complete a major philosophical study bore ironic witness to this insight. The struggle to write his impossible book left behind, however, a wealth of tantalizing fragments, which have the added value of revealing Adorno's own process of intellectual production. Masterfully reconstructed and annotated by Rolf Tiedemann, they are now available in Edmund Jephcott's elegant translation. In their very ""failure"" they demonstrate the abiding power of Adorno's claim that the dialectic of art and philosophy must remain unreconciled and negative."" Martin Jay, University of California, Berkeley


""These fragments shed valuable light not only on Adorno's thinking on Beethoven, but also equally importantly on the sources of Adorno's philosophy of music. Rolf Tiedemann's sensitive editing has produced a remarkably coherent volume out of the most disparate material, while Edmund Jephcott's translation rises magnificently to a difficult task."" Max Paddison, University of Durham

Adorno is one of the most important social thinkers and philosophers of the twentieth century. He was one of the leading figures of the Frankfurt School.

This book offers a highly innovative insight into Beethoven's music, linking it to broader questions of philosophy, aesthetics, and social theory.

Brings together all of Beethoven's music in relation to the society in which he lived.

Adorno follows the gradual disintegration of unity in the classical music of Beethoven and his contemporaries and links it with the rationality and monopolistic nature of modern society.