Beethoven's Symphonies: An Artistic Vision by Lewis LockwoodBeethoven's Symphonies: An Artistic Vision by Lewis Lockwood

Beethoven's Symphonies: An Artistic Vision

byLewis Lockwood

Paperback | February 28, 2017

Pricing and Purchase Info

$21.40 online 
$24.95 list price save 14%
Earn 107 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


More than any other composer, Beethoven left to posterity a vast body of material that documents the early stages of almost everything he wrote. From this trove of sketchbooks, Lewis Lockwood draws us into the composer’s mind, unveiling a creative process of astonishing scope and originality.

For musicians and nonmusicians alike, Beethoven’s symphonies stand at the summit of artistic achievement, loved today as they were two hundred years ago for their emotional cogency, variety, and unprecedented individuality. Beethoven labored to complete nine of them over his lifetime—a quarter of Mozart’s output and a tenth of Haydn’s—yet no musical works are more iconic, more indelibly stamped on the memory of anyone who has heard them. They are the products of an imagination that drove the composer to build out of the highest musical traditions of the past something startlingly new.

Lockwood brings to bear a long career of studying the surviving sources that yield insight into Beethoven’s creative work, including concept sketches for symphonies that were never finished. From these, Lockwood offers fascinating revelations into the historical and biographical circumstances in which the symphonies were composed. In this compelling story of Beethoven’s singular ambition, Lockwood introduces readers to the symphonies as individual artworks, broadly tracing their genesis against the backdrop of political upheavals, concert life, and their relationship to his major works in other genres. From the first symphonies, written during his emerging deafness, to the monumental Ninth, Lockwood brings to life Beethoven’s lifelong passion to compose works of unsurpassed beauty.

Lewis Lockwood taught at Princeton and Harvard universities, where he is Fanny Peabody Professor of Music Emeritus. His Beethoven: The Music and the Life was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He resides in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Title:Beethoven's Symphonies: An Artistic VisionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 8.3 × 5.55 × 0.74 inPublished:February 28, 2017Publisher:WW NortonLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0393353850

ISBN - 13:9780393353853


Rated 5 out of 5 by from great read Unlike many others who will read this book, I am not a trained musician. But music, of all genres, has continually grown in importance for me. One of my life goals is to understand as much as possible of great works of music. This book has made an important contribution. The author writes of each of the nine symphonies in a clear and informative style. Avoiding obscure pedantry on one side and vague opinions and cliches on the other.
Date published: 2017-02-10

Editorial Reviews

No one brings Beethoven’s music to life as vividly as Lewis Lockwood. A towering achievement. — Alan Gilbert, music director, New York PhilharmonicLewis Lockwood has served as an admirably articulate guide to the symphonies. . . . [H]is book will surely inspire new interest in Beethoven’s durable masterpieces. — New York Review of BooksLockwood 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 MaThis 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 UniversityLockwood 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, pianistThe preeminent Beethoven scholar traces the composer’s lifelong engagement with the symphony, illuminates afresh the familiar Nine, and reminds us why these monuments claim listeners’ attention today as much as they did two hundred years ago. A masterful achievement. — R. Larry Todd, arts & sciences professor, Duke UniversityThis book contains a lifetime of love and admiration for the bedrock of classical music: Beethoven’s symphonies. Lockwood’s balanced approach and deep knowledge make for a majestic voyage of discovery through these familiar masterworks. — David Robertson, music director, St. Louis Symphony