The Beethoven Sonatas and the Creative Experience

The Beethoven Sonatas and the Creative Experience

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... one of the most interesting, useful and even exciting books on the process of musical creation." -American Music Teacher... noteworthy contribution... with plenty of insight into interpretation... remarkable as an insider's account of the works in an individual perspective." -European Music TeacherDrake groups the Beethoven piano sonatas according to their musical qualities, rather than their chronology. He explores the interpretive implications of rhythm, dynamics, slurs, harmonic effects, and melodic development and identifies specific measures where Beethoven skillfully employs these compositional devices.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 167.64 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 430.91g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253213827
  • 9780253213822
  • 939,676

Back cover copy

Instead of following the traditional chronological order in studying the Beethoven piano sonatas, Kenneth Drake places them in categories that reflect certain qualities of the music. Approaching the sonatas as an interpreter's search for meaning, he begins with the Classic composers' expressive treatment of the keyboard - such as touches, articulation, line, color, silence, and the pacing of musical ideas. He then analyzes individual Beethoven sonatas, exploring such qualities as motivic development, color, philosophic overtones, and technical facility. Juxtaposing sonatas of like characteristics, regardless of where they fall in Beethoven's oeuvre, Drake places the very early Op. 2 No. 2 and the monumental Op. 101 in the chapter entitled ""Line and Space."" Under the heading ""Descriptive Music,"" he discusses Op. 81a and Op 13; under ""Motivic Development,"" Op. 2 No. 1, Op. 57, and Op. 110; and under ""Movement as Energized Color,"" Op. 53. The ""Quasi una Fantasia"" encompasses not only the Sonata Op. 27 No. 2, to which Beethoven gave that title, but also Sonatas Op. 26 and, Op. 27 No. 1. Drake pursues the emotional and interpretive implications of such elements as rhythm, dynamics, slurs, harmonic effects, and melodic development. He provides hundreds of musical examples and points out the specific measures in which Beethoven so skillfully employed these compositional devices. Kenneth Drake regards the Beethoven sonatas as products of an inner necessity that pianists share with the composer. He encourages musicians to exercise intuition and independence of thought in studying the ""32"" and to seek not just performance skills but logical conclusions about ideas and relationships within thescore.
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About Kenneth O. Drake

Kenneth Drake is Professor Emeritus of Piano at the University of Illinois and author ofThe Sonatas of Beethoven as He Played and Taught Them. He is active as a performer on period pianos.Cover illustration: The Beethoven Broadwood fortepiano. Courtesy of the Hungarian National Museum. Photo by Sheila Rock, Thorn EMI London.
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Review quote

" ... one of the most interesting, useful and even exciting books on the process of musical creation." --American Music Teacher " ... noteworthy contribution ... with plenty of insight into interpretation ... remarkable as an insider's account of the works in an individual perspective." --European Music Teacher "... one of the most interesting, useful and even exciting books on the process of musical creation." --Marilyn Neeley, American Music Teacher "This book is a highly worthwhile addition for every serious pianist's library and to the scholarship on Beethoven. It is lavishly illustrated with examples from the scores." --William Race, Notes "In [this book's] blend of pianistic, analytical and aesthetic issues, the author breaks new ground, encouraging a more holistic interpretative approach." --Malcolm Miller, European Music Teacher
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Table of contents

Preface1. The First Raptus, and All Subsequent Ones*The Sounds of Involvement2. Technique as Touch3. Tempo and the Pacing of Musical Ideas4. Dynamic Nuance and Musical Line5. The Role of Silence6. Sound as Color*The Sonatas7. Descriptive Music: Op.81a, Op.138. Motivic Development: Op.2 No.1, Op.57, Op.1109. Quasi una Fantasia: Op.27 Nos.1 and 2, Op.2610. Line and Space: Op. 2 No.2, Op 10111. Movement as Energized Color: Op.5312. The Moment of Creation: Op.28, Op.31 Nos.2 and 313. Facing Two Directions: Op.49 Nos.1 and 2, Op.54, Op. 78, Op. 9014. The Enjoyment of Fluency: Op.10 Nos.2 and 3, Op. 14 No. 2, Op.22, Op.31 No.1, Op.7915. The Cosmopolitan Impostor: Op.2 No.3, Op.14 No.116. Embracing the Dachstein: Op. 7, Op. 10617. A Higher Revelation: Op.10 No.1, Op.109, Op.11118. The Witness Tree*Notes
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