"The purpose of the four long chapters in this volume is to consider widely and deeply four of Beethoven’s most excellent works. Each work represents a different genre and each comes from a different period of Beethoven’s stylistic development. Thus the Piano Sonata Op. 10 No. 3 (1797-98). represents the early period; the Violin Concerto Op. 61 (1806) and Violin Sonata Op. 96 (1812) the middle period (though with several later traits) and the String Quartet Op. 132 (1825) the late period. As a result the reader becomes acquainted with the special character of each genre as well as the overall development of Beethoven’s style—including a large range of structural types and unique forms. Each work is given a comprehensive analysis rarely applied to single compositions of Beethoven.
In addition to necessary historical background and references to the critical reception comparisons have been included with other works by Beethoven in the same genre and period. This wider personal context combines with an effort to view Beethoven’s music not only in terms of the heritage of Haydn and Mozart but also in relation to the long development of Classic style and its procedures from the early Classic period onward starting in the 1730s.