Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Thesis (UNI Access Only)


Beethoven, Ludwig van, 1770-1827--Criticism and interpretation; Beethoven, Ludwig van, 1770-1827--Appreciation;


In the modern era, Beethoven and his compositions are held in high esteem. This was not always the case. The contemporary reception of his music was far less glowing. A place of future greatness did not seem to be assured based on the critical responses his works received within his lifetime. The key to the discrepancy between his contemporary critical responses and his modern vaunted status lies in the evolving view on his life and his work – or more importantly the perception of a relationship between his life and his work (real or imagined), and how that perception changed and evolved after Beethoven's death. During Beethoven's life, critics quite often did not respond positively to performances of his works. Looking at specific works, objections were raised primarily beginning with his middle period, and later intensified with the works of his third period. The objections that were raised were both to works as a whole, and also more specifically to certain passages, musical devices he chose to employ, or how he used traditional forms. In his later years and continuing after his death, many of these perceived problems were blamed upon Beethoven's failing hearing. The relationship between his health struggles and his music became an important one, as it would play into rehabilitating his image in the later part of the nineteenth-century. The relationship linking Beethoven's health and his music became important in this regard when writers inverted that relationship. It was juxtaposed from his hearing being an affliction that had a negative impact on his compositions, to his hearing and the resulting issues he had to deal with being a great strength that lead to his greatest work. This change was a very powerful image that did much to lead to our modern conception of Beethoven.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Music


School of Music

First Advisor

Melinda Boyd

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iv, 73 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download