This book looks closely at both Beethoven and the Grosse Fuge, placing both in their historical and social contexts. It considers interesting questions about whether absolute music-music without words-can have meaning and speculates that some works of Western music can evoke synesthesia in listeners-a sense of motion through three-dimensional volumes of space. The author also speculates that Beethoven's long creative dry spell in his late 40s was caused by an extended bout with clinical depression.
Robert S. Kahn worked as a professional musician after receiving music degrees from Reed College and the Manhattan School of Music. He is the author of Other People's Blood: U.S. Immigration Prisons in the Reagan Decade, and is news editor for Courthouse News Service.