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The secrets of
Beethoven's Sketchbooks

Until the distinguished concert pianist and Beethoven scholar Professor Denis Matthews made these recordings - now available on CD - only a handful of music scholars knew the secrets of the great composer's sketchbooks.

The private notes Beethoven kept all his working life show the growth of each composition from initial idea through constant revision, bar by bar, until he achieved the 'spontaneous' finished work. In his sketchbooks, said composer and critic Christopher Headington, Beethoven jotted down musical notes as they occurred to him, or worked on existing ideas to get them into shape.

With these fascinating recordings, Denis Matthews helps music-lovers to hear Beethoven's creative genius at work. These admirable guides through the Sketchbooks are not merely of academic interest, wrote celebrated music critic Lionel Salter in 'The Music Teacher', but are as illuminating as if Beethoven himself had written a textbook on the technique of composition.

Now available on two 2-CD sets
making four CDs in all - each set with
an 8-page text by Denis Matthews

DCL 1251/2
The Composer at Work
The Concertos
Symphonies 1, 2 and 7
DCL 1253/4
The Eroica
Symphonies 5, 6 and 8
The 'Choral' Symphony

In these two 2-CD sets Denis Matthews illustrates themes and ideas chosen from Beethoven's sketchbooks and shows how he evolved the finished works. As the famous American critic Irving Kolodin said, 'he helps us to understand how the bare bones of a group of notes on a single stave were fleshed out to become a titanic exercise in the use of orchestral power.'

During his concert career Denis Matthews (1919-88) appeared with many of the world's leading orchestras, and was widely acclaimed as a soloist, and as an eminent Beethoven/Mozart scholar. His books on music are classics of their kind. A brilliant lecturer, he was Professor of Music at Newcastle upon Tyne University, 1972 to 1984, and was appointed CBE in 1975.

Introducung these unique recordings Denis Matthews said: 'The sketchbooks of Beethoven are among the most remarkable documents of human endeavour in existence. They are the private workings of Beethoven's mind - the laboratory or workshop in which his compositions were built up the hard way, as it were stone upon stone...

They are not only fascinating but helpful to the performer and the enquiring listener, in revealing the mental processes behind a great work of art. We see Beethoven's reasons and his rightness more clearly than ever; we warm to him more strongly than ever as a great musician and a great human being who triumphed both over adversity and the material of music itself.'

I carry my ideas a long time, rejecting and rewriting until I am satisfied. Since I am conscious of what I want, I never lose sight of the fundamental idea. It rises higher and higher until I see the image of it, rounded and complete, standing there before my mental vision.
Ludwig van Beethoven

Royalties from the sale of this private and limited edition from the Discourses archive are donated to the Denis Matthews Memorial Trust

CDs 1/2
CDs 3/4