The Classical Style

The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven is a book by the American pianist and author Charles Rosen. The book analyses the evolution of style during the Classical period of classical music as it was developed through the works of Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven.[1][2][3]

The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven
ClassicalStyleCharlesRosen cover.jpg
AuthorCharles Rosen
CountryUnited States
PublishedApril 21, 1971 (Viking Press)
Media typePrint
Pages467 (first edition)

The Classical Style was first published on April 21, 1971 by Viking Press. Rosen later revised the work, complete with a new chapter, an updated preface, and a companion CD specifically recorded for the new edition. This second version was published through W. W. Norton & Company in 1998.


The Classical Style has been critically lauded since its publication.[1][2][3] In the original The New York Times review, Edward T. Cone called it a "thoughtful and illuminating study" and "a book for which both musicians and music-lovers should be grateful."[4]

The book won the 1972 National Book Award for Arts and Letters.[1][2][5][6] It is still the only book on music to win the award.


In 2014, the librettist Jeremy Denk and the composer Steven Stucky created the comic opera The Classical Style in honor of the work. The piece premiered June 13, 2014 at the Ojai Music Festival.[7][8][9]


  1. ^ a b c Dirda, Michael (August 15, 2012). "Charles Rosen, ever refining our approach to the arts of the past". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Fox, Margalit (December 10, 2012). "Charles Rosen, Scholar-Musician Who Untangled Classical Works, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Denk, Jeremy (December 18, 2012). "Postscript: Charles Rosen". The New Yorker. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  4. ^ Cone, Edward T. (May 23, 1971). "The Classical Style: The Key Was Symmetry" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  5. ^ Tsioulcas, Anastasia (December 11, 2012). "Classical Music Scholar Charles Rosen Dies At 85". NPR. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  6. ^ Ng, David (December 11, 2012). "Charles Rosen dies at 85; pianist wrote 'The Classical Style'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  7. ^ Boehm, Mike (December 4, 2013). "Ojai Music Festival to premiere a comic opera by Denk and Stucky". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  8. ^ Swed, Mark (June 16, 2014). "Review 'Classical Style' at Ojai Music Festival draws on wit, wisdom". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  9. ^ Scheinin, Richard (June 20, 2014). "Review: 'Classical Style' big-time charmer at Ojai". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved June 19, 2015.