Beethoven and the Construction of Genius: Musical Politics in Vienna, 1792-1803
In this provocative account Tia DeNora reconceptualizes the notion of genius by placing the life and career of Ludwig van Beethoven in its social context. She explores the changing musical world of late eighteenth-century Vienna and follows the activities of the small circle of aristocratic patrons who paved the way for the composer's success.
DeNora reconstructs the development of Beethoven's reputation as she recreates Vienna's robust musical scene through contemporary accounts, letters, magazines, and myths—a colorful picture of changing times. She explores the ways Beethoven was seen by his contemporaries and the image crafted by his supporters. Comparing Beethoven to contemporary rivals now largely forgotten, DeNora reveals a figure musically innovative and complex, as well as a keen self-promoter who adroitly managed his own celebrity.
DeNora contends that the recognition Beethoven received was as much a social achievement as it was the result of his personal gifts. In contemplating the political and social implications of culture, DeNora casts many aspects of Beethoven's biography in a new and different light, enriching our understanding of his success as a performer and composer.
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aesthetic amateur aristocratic aristocratic patrons Artaria artistic audiences Baron van Swieten Beetho Beethoven Beethoven-Wolffl Beethoven's music Beethoven's reputation Beethoven's success Beethoven's talent Bonn Breitkopf and Hartel career century chapter Clementi composer compositions concert locations contemporaries context Count Countess court Czerny duel Dussek early Esterhazy example Ferdinand Ferdinand Ries fortepiano Gelinek genius Gottfried van Swieten hauskapellen Haydn Haydn's hands ibid ideology Industrie Comptoir initial instruments Jan Ladislav Dussek Johann kapelle kapellmeister late eighteenth-century later Leopold Kozeluch Leopoldstadt less Lobkowitz London Member of GAC middle-class Moore Morrow Mozart music patronage musicians Muzio Clementi Neukomm nobility observed Olleson opera perceived performed pianist Piano Sonata pianoforte playing Prince Lichnowsky Prince Lobkowitz Princess private concert host public concert published pupil quartets reception relationship salons scholars Schonfeld serious music social story Streicher style suggest Symphony teacher Thayer and Forbes Theater thoven tion Trios ven's Vienna Violin Wetzlar Wien Wolffl Wranitzsky