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William Kinderman talks about his new book "Beethoven: A Political Artist in Revolutionary Times" with Erica Buurman
In his new book, "Beethoven: A Political Artist in Revolutionary Times," William Kinderman presents Beethoven as a civically engaged thinker faced with severe challenges. The composer lived through many tumultuous events—the French Revolution, the rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Congress of Vienna among them. Previous studies of Beethoven have emphasized the importance of his personal suffering and inner struggles; Kinderman instead establishes that musical tensions in works such as the Eroica, the Appassionata, and his final piano sonata in C minor reflect Beethoven’s attitudes toward the political turbulence of the era. Written for the 250th anniversary of his birth, Beethoven takes stock of the composer’s legacy, showing how his idealism and zeal for resistance have ensured that masterpieces such as the Ninth Symphony continue to inspire activists around the globe.

William Kinderman is professor of music and the Leo M. Klein and Elaine Krown Klein Chair in Performance Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. His many books include Beethoven, The Creative Process in Music from Mozart to Kurtág, and, most recently, Wagner’s “Parsifal.”

May 6, 2021 12:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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