Who can tell you why? author Geoffrey Block muses, echoing the lines from Some Enchanted Evening as he considers the eternal lure of his subject in the introduction to Experiencing Beethoven: A Listeners Companion (Rowman & Littlefield, 290 pp., $45). A professor of music history at the University of Puget Sound, Block explains the unique greatness of the music as he probes Beethovens masterworks, including the circumstances of the historic performances. He details the massive scope of what the composer left behind besides his musical scores: several dozen surviving music sketchbooks and 4,000 extant pages of sketches, nearly 2,000 letters, plus diary entries and conversation books (used because of the composers deafness). Most Read Stories Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks. Focusing in, Block presents brilliant, in-depth analyses of several Beethoven works in different genres, including symphonies and piano sonatas, his only opera, his songs, the late piano music and the Op. 131 String Quartet in C-Sharp Minor (admired so deeply by Wagner and Schubert). A detailed analysis of the sketches for that enormous quartet, for example, show Beethoven changing his mind five times about the structure of the work. that siteBlocks book is aimed at both the general reader and the Beethoven fan, and even those in that latter category may well add considerably to their store of knowledge about this titan of music.
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