Stephen Rumph

in Beethoven after Napoleon

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238558
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930124 | DOI:

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Musicology and Music History


Show Summary Details


Beethoven was a political composer who dedicated his art to the problems of human freedom, justice, progress, and community. The political note in his music echoes the tragic times in which he lived. Napoleon seems also to have captivated Beethoven's imagination, creating a sense that combined elements of hero worship, competition, and demonization. The reluctance of critics to associate the aging Beethoven with contemporary politics owes much to the unsavory reputation of the Restoration. The movement known as politische Romantik, “political Romanticism,” provides an answer to how deeply Beethoven was stricken, and whether or not his works mark a genuine shift in his political sympathies, questioning the equation of Romantic politics with Restoration reaction. Because ethical and musical values intertwine so closely in Beethoven's music, their priority must remain a matter of personal inclination, as the political thought in Beethoven's music illuminates the expressive force of his musical thought.

Keywords: Beethoven; Napoleon; political Romanticism; Restoration; Romantic politics

Chapter.  3429 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.