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Beethoven: The Man Revealed

 
 
Author
John Suchet.
Publisher Atlantic Monthly  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.25 x 6.25 x 1.35 inches
ISBN 9781416145011
Pages/Publication Date 389/2012
Daedalus Item Code 61107
This item is not available.
Description
Beethoven scholar and classical radio host John Suchet has had a lifelong interest in Ludwig van Beethoven and his music. Here he illuminates the composer's difficult childhood, his struggle to maintain friendships and romances, his ungovernable temper, his obsessive efforts to control his nephew's life, and the excruciating decline of his hearing. Chronicling the landmark events in Beethoven's career—from his competitive encounters with Mozart to the circumstances surrounding the creation of the well-known "Für Elise" and Moonlight Sonata—this book explores the composer's character and inspires a deeper appreciation for his work.

"Suchet's explanations of Beethoven's music sing to us almost as if we could hear it."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"In his sixth book on Beethoven, Suchet eschews musical analysis and the source references academics demand to limn the life and personality out of which the music arose. Beethoven's irascible, controlling, often callous, and even cruel personality constitutes the archetype of the great but monstrous titan of art, and just how much his life was to blame for his difficulty may not have been as thoroughly appreciated as Suchet now allows it to be. Besides the legendary hearing loss that began in his twenties, Beethoven suffered at base from an irresponsible, alcoholic father (who yet fostered his son's musical career); an erratic, possibly demented mother; and a consequently chaotic family environment. Still, early on, before the deafness, before recognition as a musical paragon of the highest possible order, Beethoven could, as the report-card phrase puts it, work and play well with others, especially fellow musicians, and he acquired several long-haul friends who rolled with his punches, though, alas, no lover (he was just too gauche for even the most admiring woman). But his attempt to shape his untalented nephew into a second him is unconscionable, as are his own bad habits—he seems to have died of alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. Yet, often concurrently with the worst personal strife, he wrote the sublimest music. Consider Suchet's new biography an ideal 'first book' on Beethoven."—Booklist (starred review)

 
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