As a young composer, Beethoven learned the basics from Haydn and Mozart, but as he matured artistically he was shaped by the Enlightenment and revolutionary ideas afoot in his hometown of Bonn. While Napoleon made strides to liberate Europe from aristocratic oppression, a star-struck Beethoven desired to liberate humankind through music. Here John Clubbe illuminates Beethoven as a lifelong revolutionary through his compositions, portraits, and writings, and by setting him alongside major cultural figures of the time, including Schiller, Goethe, Byron, Chateaubriand, and Goya.
"A thoughtful cultural history that takes into account the times in which Beethoven lived and worked?and they were times of revolution."—Washington Post