Handbooks and guides

Beethoven handbooks in English:

Peter Clive. Beethoven and His World: A Biographical Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

This updated guide includes many new names and relies on the more current research than found in Nettl's Beethoven Encyclopedia (see below).

Barry Cooper, ed. The Beethoven Compendium / A Guide to Beethoven's Life and Music. London: Thames and Hudson, 1991. 351 pp.

Very handy up-to-date guide to Beethoven's life and works. Includes the following sections:

  • Calendar of Beethoven's life, works and related events
  • Beethoven's family tree
  • Who's who of Beethoven's contemporaries
  • Historical background
  • Musical background
  • Beethoven as individual
  • Beethoven's beliefs and opinions
  • Biographical and musical source material
  • A conspectus of Beethoven's music
  • The music
  • Performance practices in Beethoven's day
  • Reception
  • Beethoven literature

Beethoven Encyclopedia. Paul Nettl. New York: Philosophical Library, 1956.

(Retitled Beethoven Handbook in 2nd ed. published by Ungar in New York in 1967; reprinted as The Beethoven Encyclopedia by Carol Publishing, Secaucus, NJ, in 1994) 335 pp.

Short entries on important people, places, titles, etc.

The Beethoven Companion, ed. Thomas K. Scherman and Louis Biancolli. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1972. 1,230 pp.

Huge systematic survey of Beethoven's life, places he lived, family background, letters, and music. Commentaries on the music are by many different authors, mostly selected from previously published sources.

The Beethoven Reader. ed. Denis Arnold and Nigel Fortune. New York: Norton, 1971. 542 pp. The London edition from Faber and Faber, also 1971, is called The Beethoven Companion.

Essays by different authors on the man and artist, the pianos and piano music, the chamber music, the orchestral music, the operatic and vocal music, practical matters, and the view of posterity.

Beethoven handbooks in German:

Beethoven Handbuch. Compiled by Theodor Frimmel. 2 vols. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1926.

Includes short articles on Beethoven's life and works arranged in alphabetical order.

Das Beethoven-Lexicon. Edited by Heinz von Loesch and Claus Raab. Das Beethoven-Handbuch, Band 6. Laaber: Laaber Verlag, 2008.

This book attempts to replace Frimmel's Beethoven-Handbuch. Includes entries on Beethoven's works and their reception and influence on other music, literature, arts, politics, philosophy, and other historical aspects. Somewhat selective in the choice of topics, and lacks and index.

Beethoven Handbuch. Edited by Sven Hiemke. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2009.

Encyclopedia entries on Beethoven's works, with a long introductory essay on Beethoven and his world. Includes bibliographies and indexes.