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Volume 14 • Number 1

Spring 2007

 

The Songs and the Sketches for the Allegro molto from Beethoven's Op.110


by William Drabkin


Hard facts are difficult to ignore. Things we know about a piece of music that lie outside the notes—a date of composition, an anecdote about its genesis, a last-minute change of dedicatee—are not only useful to consider but often difficult to overlook when we contemplate them. Some of these things may be purely musical ("Doesn't that horn player know how to count?"), others lead beyond the realm of tones to the theater and literature ("the tomb scene in Romeo and Juliet," "Read Shakespeare's Tempest"), or to philosophy ("the starry skies above us").

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