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Theodor W. Adorno

Beethoven - The Philosophy of Music. Fragments and texts

Edited by Rolf Tiedemann
Theodor W. Adorno
Foto: Theodor W. Adorno

Theodor W. Adorno was born on September 11, 1903 in Frankfurt am Main and died on August 6, 1969 from the consequences of a heart attack while on vacation in Visp/Valais. From 1921 to 1923 he studied Philosophy, Sociology and Musicology in Frankfurt and obtained his doctorate in 1924 with a thesis on »Transcendence of the Material and Noematic in Husserl’s Phenomenology«. He became friends with Siegfried Kracauer in his school days and later with Max Horkheimer and Walter Benjamin during their years at university. Alongside them, Adorno is one of the most important representatives of the »Frankfurt School«, which emerged from the Institute for Social Research at the Goethe University Frankfurt. The collected works of Theodor W. Adorno are published by Suhrkamp Verlag and have been translated into more than 40 languages.

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Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th Birthday on December 17th, 2020

About

Beethoven is a classic study of the composer's music, written by one of the most important thinkers of our time. Throughout his life, Adorno wrote extensive notes, essay fragments and aides-memoires on the subject of Beethoven's music. This book brings together all of Beethoven's music in relation to the society in which he lived.

Adorno identifies three periods in Beethoven's work, arguing that the thematic unity of the first and second periods begins to break down in the third. Adorno follows this progressive disintegration of organic unity in the classical music of Beethoven and his contemporaries, linking it with the rationality and monopolistic nature of modern society.

Beethoven will be welcomed by students and researchers in a wide range of disciplines - philosophy, sociology, music and history - and by anyone interested in the life of the composer.

Praise

»These fragments shed valuable light not only on Adorno's thinking on Beethoven, but also equally importantly on the sources of Adorno's philosophy of music. Rolf Tiedemann's sensitive editing has produced a remarkably coherent volume out of the most disparate material […]« Max Paddison, University of Durham

»In the case of a supreme artist like Beethoven, a lifetime of futile efforts by Adorno to complete a major philosophical study bore ironic witness to this insight. The struggle to write his impossible book left behind, however, a wealth of tantalizing fragments, which have the added value of revealing Adorno's own process of intellectual production […] In their very "failure" they demonstrate the abiding power of Adorno's claim that the dialectic of art and philosophy must remain unreconciled and negative.« Martin Jay, University of California, Berkeley

Other publications

Aspekte des neuen Rechtsradikalismus/Aspects of Contemporary Right-Wing Radicalism (2019)

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»Der liebe Gott wohnt im Detail« Briefwechsel 1939-1969/»The good Lord lives in the details« (2015)

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Briefe und Briefwechsel/Correspondence 1923-1966 (2008)

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Traumprotokolle/Dream Protocols (2005)

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Zu einer Theorie der musikalischen Reproduktion/Towards a Theory of Musical Reproduction (2005)

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Gesammelte Schriften in 20 Bänden/Collected Writings in 20 Volumes (1997)

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Nachgelassene Schriften. Abteilung I: Fragment gebliebene Schriften/Posthumous Writings (1994)

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Philosophie der neuen Musik/Philosophy of Modern Music (1987)

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Philosophische Terminologie/Philosophical Terminology (1974)

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Ästhetische Theorie/Aesthetic Theory (1973)

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Philosophische Terminologie/Philosophical Terminology (1973)

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Gesammelte Schriften in 20 Bänden/Hegel (1963)

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Die musikalischen Monographien/Mahler (1960)

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Minima Moralia/Minima Moralia (1951)

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