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Beethoven after NapoleonPolitical Romanticism in the Late Works$
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Stephen Rumph

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520238558

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520238558.001.0001

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A Modernist Epilogue

A Modernist Epilogue

(p.222) 9 A Modernist Epilogue
Beethoven after Napoleon

Stephen Rumph

University of California Press

This chapter summarizes the musical criticism of Beethoven's works, among which Hoffman's works stand at the head of the line. The reviews of Beethoven's works have translated his heroic style into Romantic terms, leaving a compelling portrait of Beethoven as mystic visionary and conquistador of the spirit world. However, his late works did not enjoy the same journalistic coverage. It was a century after his death that literature dedicated specifically to the late period arose, which critical tradition emerged in tandem with modernism, the objectivist, anti-Romantic movement during the end of World War I. At the same time avant-garde composers were turning back to classical forms, pioneers of the early-music movement were challenging Romantic interpretations, and critics became intensely interested in the late works of Beethoven. It was then that the modernists rediscovered Beethoven's late music, analyzed its style, and cleared a space for criticism.

Keywords:   Beethoven, musical criticism, heroic style, anti-Romantic movement, modernism

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