Beethoven's piano sonatas are a cornerstone of the piano repertoire and favourites of both the concert hall and recording studio. The sonatas have been the subject of much scholarship, but no single study gives an adequate account of the processes by which these sonatas were composed and published. With source materials such as sketches and correspondence increasingly available, the time is ripe for a close study of the history of these works. Barry Cooper, who in 2007 produced a new edition of all 35 sonatas, including three that are often overlooked, examines each sonata in turn, addressing questions such as: Why were they written? Why did they turn out as they did? How did they come into being and how did they reach their final form? Drawing on the composer's sketches, autograph scores and early printed editions, as well as contextual material such as correspondence, Cooper explores the links between the notes and symbols found in the musical texts of the sonatas, and the environment that brought them about. The result is a biography not of the composer, but of the works themselves.
Barry Cooper is Professor of Music at the University of Manchester. He has a wide range of research interests from medieval to 19th-century music, notably on English Baroque music and the music of Beethoven and his contemporaries. A world authority on Beethoven, his books on the composer include Beethoven and the Creative Process (1990; 2nd edn, 1992), Beethoven's Folksong Settings (1994), Beethoven (The Master Musicians, 2000; 2nd edn, 2008) and Beethoven: An Extraordinary Life (2013). He is also the General Editor and co-author of The Beethoven Compendium (1991; 2nd edn, 1996). His scholarly performing edition of Beethoven's 35 Piano Sonatas (London: ABRSM, 2007) won the award 'Best Classical Publication' of the year from the Music Industries Association.
List of music examples List of tables Abbreviations Preface and acknowledgements Chapter 1: Approaching Beethoven's piano sonatas Chapter 2: The Bonn sonatas Chapter 3: The Opus 2 sonatas and Haydn Chapter 4: The sonatas of 1796-97 Chapter 5: The sonatas of 1798-1800 Chapter 6: New century, new approaches Chapter 7: A `new path'? Chapter 8: The middle period opens up Chapter 9: A Clementi commission Chapter 10: Moving into the late period Chapter 11: The last three sonatas Bibliography Index