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This little book came into existence as if it were by chance. The author had devoted himself for a long time to the study of Beethoven and carefully scrutinized all manner of books, publications, manuscripts, etc., in order to derive the greatest possible information about the hero. He can say confidently that he conned every existing publication of value. His notes made during his readings grew voluminous, and also his amazement at the wealth of Beethoven's observations comparatively unknown to his admirers because hidden away, like concealed violets, in books which have been long out of print and for whose reproduction there is no urgent call. These observations are of the utmost importance for the understanding of Beethoven, in whom man and artist are inseparably united. Within the pages of this little book are included all of them which seemed to possess value, either as expressions of universal truths or as evidence of the character of Beethoven or his compositions. Beethoven is brought more directly before our knowledge by these his own words than by the diffuse books which have been written about him. For this reason the compiler has added only the necessary explanatory notes, and (on the advice of professional friends) the remarks introductory to the various subdivisions of the book. He dispensed with a biographical introduction; there are plenty of succinct biographies, which set forth the circumstances of the master's life easily to be had. Those who wish to penetrate farther into the subject would do well to read the great work by Thayer, the foundation of all Beethoven biography (in the new revision now making by Deiters), or the critical biography by Marx, as revised by Behncke. In sifting the material it was found that it fell naturally into thirteen subdivisions. In arranging the succession of utterances care was had to group related subjects. By this means unnecessary interruptions in the train of thought were avoided and interesting comparisons made possible. To this end it was important that time, place and circumstances of every word should be conscientiously set down.

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