Alexander Waugh

An Unusually Gifted Composer

Beethoven: The Music and the Life

By

W W Norton 604pp £28 order from our bookshop

LEWIS LOCKWOOD IS a research professor at Harvard University who has spent most of his working life thinking about Beethoven and, in particular, his music for the cello. A stream of scholarly monographs on contemporary cello techniques, on the Cello Sonata in A major, the role of  the cello in the Triple Concerto, and the composer’s shifting attitudes to the instrument, have I earned Professor Lockwood a more than respectable niche in the jealous columbarium of current international Beethoven studies. But now it is time for him to move on, fkom the particular to the less so. ‘Within every specialist’, he says, ‘lurks a generalist yearning to get out.’ A lifetime of squinting down a microscope at ink splodges on the manuscrivts of Beethoven’s I cello works has Liven Lockwood a I unique insight into many aspects of Beethoven’s life, his times and lus music, all of which he urgently desires to expand upon. Here, then, is the fiuit of his desire, magnum opus, if you like, directed not to his usual audience of scholars, but to the dust jacket’s ‘general reader’. It is a book of grand, indeed Beethovenian, ambition.

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