John Suchet Beethoven: The Man Revealed

ISBN 13: 9780802122063

Beethoven: The Man Revealed

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9780802122063: Beethoven: The Man Revealed
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Beethoven scholar and classical radio host John Suchet has had a lifelong, ardent interest in the man and his music. Here, in his first full-length biography, Suchet 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. This absorbing narrative provides a comprehensive account of a momentous life, as it takes the reader on a journey from the composer’s birth in Bonn to his death in Vienna.

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 enhances understanding of the composer's character, inspiring a deeper appreciation for his work. Beethoven scholarship is constantly evolving, and Suchet draws on the latest research, using rare source material (some of which has never before been published in English) to paint a complete and vivid portrait of the legendary prodigy.

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About the Author:

John Suchet is recognized as a leading authority on the life and works of Ludwig van Beethoven. This is his first full-length biography of the composer. He presents the morning program on Britain’s Classic FM, and lives in London.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Ludwig did more than teach piano to the Breuning children. He in effect grew up as part of the Breuning household, becoming almost a surrogate member of the family. [. . .] It was there, also, that he first became acquainted with German literature, especially poetry. It is beyond doubt that he will have been introduced to the works of the two emerging giants of German literature, Goethe and Schille. He read Homer and Plutarch. He was trained too in social etiquette. He even went away on holiday with the family. Helene von Breuning clearly took him under her wing and made it her duty to fill in the gaps academic and social that early exit from school and singular devotion to music had caused.

His father Johann remained of low standing, and was little more than a figure of ridicule. [. . .] Ludwig was in effect the family breadwinner. Given his father’s alcoholism, he was also de facto head of the household. This was before he was midway through his teens. The pressure he was under must have been enormous. He held a salaried position at court, which demanded serious work. He was continuing instruction with Neefe. At home he was witnessing his father’s increasing alcoholism and his mother’s distress. This was made immeasurably worse by his mother’s obviously declining health. She was showing all the signs of having contracted the deadly disease of consumption (tuberculosis).

And yet he found time to compose.

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