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Beethoven: The Man Revealed [Kindle Edition]

John Suchet
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)

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Book Description

You know the music... but do you know the man? Ludwig van Beethoven’s life — its dramas, conflicts, loves and losses, his deafness coupled with continuous health problems, his epic struggle with his sister-in-law for sole custody of her son, his nephew — is played out in his music. Now John Suchet has portrayed the real man behind the music in this compelling biography of a musical genius. He reveals a difficult and complex character, struggling to continue his profession as musician despite increasing deafness, alienating friends with unprovoked outbursts of anger one moment, overwhelming them with excessive kindness and generosity the next, living in a city in almost constant disarray because of war with France. This is not the god-like immortal portrayed in statues and paintings in heroic pose garlanded with laurel leaves. Beethoven may have been one of the greatest artists who ever lived, but he was still a man who had to live among fellow mortals, eat and drink, fall in love, pay his rent. This is the real Beethoven, and Suchet brings him effortlessly to life.

Product Description


"Suchet's explanations of Beethoven's music sing to us almost as if we could hear it. . . . Kudos to the author for this deeply moving, outstanding biography." --"Kirkus Reviews" (starred review) "A big, bold biography." --"Library Journal" "Suchet's conversational approach allows him to present the known details of Beethoven's life while speculating effectively on the unknown. . . . A colloquial, picaresque biography." --Shelf Awareness "Breathtaking . . . Suchet has turned his vast knowledge, imagination and passion [into] . . . a memorable life that abounds with the kind of details often overlooked by researchers focused only on verifiable facts. . . . [His] intuitive understanding of human nature, social history and psychological insight . . . unwraps Beethoven's life as a lively connected narrative, energized on every page . . . What is refreshing and novel here is the imaginative and engaging way in which a formidably tangled skein of pre-existing strands has been deftly unraveled and re-woven into a deeply moving portrait." --Bookreporter "I have loved and performed Beethoven since I was very young and have read a good deal about the life and times of this giant among composers, but John Suchet's infectious enthusiasm and fascination, probing the details behind every step of his life, and turning sensitive sleuth when the facts are less clear, opens new vistas and makes for a gripping and thought-provoking read. --Howard Shelley, Pianist and Conductor "John Suchet offers us a fascinating and touchingly human insight into a great figure who has consumed him for decades. By exercising a genuine authority in identifying how Beethoven, the man, manifests himself in our appreciation of the music, Suchet brings an incisive freshness to an extraordinary life. The results in his 'Beethovenia' are always rigorously researched and accompanied by a child-like passion to communicate the composer's true essence." --Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music "Beethoven's music continues to form one of the cornerstones of the concert repertoire some 200 years after it was written, and its sheer ingenuity and inventiveness never cease to amaze the perceptive listener. Knowing the context in which it was written can aid our understanding of the music, and every biography of Beethoven's unusual life has something new to say. Although some aspects of his life, such as his deafness, and his great love for his only nephew, are well known, this book also includes many details that are less familiar. John Suchet writes with infectious enthusiasm, and his avoidance of technical detail makes this a biography that can be read and understood by anyone interested in the composer." --Professor Barry Cooper, University of Manchester

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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 925 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Elliott & Thompson (1 Dec. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AE47G4U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,069 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

John Suchet is an award-winning British newsreader, television presenter, author and a morning radio show host on Classic FM. Most famous for being a newsreader for ITV News, John worked for the channel for 32 years, between 1972 and 2004. He retired from ITN in 2004, but made a welcome return to TV news in 2006, presenting Five News.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
118 of 121 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
John Suchet is very well known for his love of Beethoven and has written five other books on Beethoven's life, all of which are incredible. This latest work has clearly been the culmination of years more research and trips around the world to bring us more facts about Beethoven and bring him to life before our eyes. Firstly, the presentation of the book is beautiful. It has a very smart front cover and inside has beautiful illustrations and chapter title pages throughout. The content is a fascinating insight into Beethoven's life starting with a little family history from before he was born. Whether you know nothing about Beethoven or are well read about him, John Suchet writes in a captivating style so it is impossible to put down. In a recent tv interview he said that there are details about Beethoven's life which have never been published before in English, not that I know which ones they are in the book. This is such an interesting biography and you will find yourself sharing the emotions throughout. Having always been a fan of Beethoven's music I wanted to learn more about him, and from loving John Suchet's other books I knew this would be no different. For most of the book I was reading it with John's voice narrating it as he has such an excellent and friendly broadcasting voice. There are no better books out there on Beethoven, although being ever-modest and humble John Suchet lists some books within that he himself deems excellent for scholastic reading.

I highly recommend this read to everyone and will no doubt go back to it time and again throughout the rest of my life. I would also highly recommend reading John Suchet's The Treasures of Beethoven and The Last Master trilogy, both of which are also fascinating. Thank you John Suchet for sharing your passion with us and delivering yet another treasure!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A genius revealed 22 Mar. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have for most of my life considered Beethoven to be a total genius through his music, especially despite his deafness. Although my collection of his music is not enormous, I have a good collection of his major works. However I have not collected any books about him of any other composer for that matter as I feared that it would be too technical for me who is not an expert in musical composition. However I spotted this book by John Suchet and having read previous reviews I took a chance by buying it. I was not disappointed. It was easy reading and I can see a lot of research has gone into it. Yes there is some speculation on certain events but the author readily admits to this. The book, in my opinion gives a broad picture of the troubled life of probably the world's greatest musician, or at least on par with Mozart, so one can appreciate listening to his music knowing the pain that he was experiencing at the time. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an insight into the man himself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but frustrating 6 Sept. 2014
By Harris
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A fascinating but inevitably frustrating read. John Suchet brings a Classic FM light touch to the subject, but for me fails to 'reveal the man'. The problem he faces, of course, is that there are just not enough hard facts, and he's endlessly left speculating and trying to fill in the gaps - so much so that he verges on caricature at times. By the end of the book I was really none the wiser about this extraordinary and puzzling genius: the answer, I guess, is to listen to the music.
Some things were annnoying: the 9th Symphony is rightly given a big build-up, but the Missa Solemnis, which Beethoven himself regarded as his best work (I agree!), is downplayed to a couple of lines. Suchet pronounces the cause of his death as cirrhosis of the liver (it could have been a number of things) but an alcohol problem is never referenced throughout the book, as one might have expected. Perhaps the best you can say, is that it's fired up my interest.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beethoven the Greatest 9 Mar. 2013
By Lynsp
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful, informative and interesting account of Beethoven's life told by a real expert with a passion for the greatest composer that ever lived. Photographs of significant places past and present enhance the story of this enigmatic man. A book for music lovers everywhere.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master 26 Dec. 2012
By Paragon
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A well written book, Suchets passion is evident throughout the book. Entertaining, informative and presented in a thoughly readable style. By the end of the book, you cannot help but feel compassion towards Beethoven, mixed with wonder at how did such a man compose those latter magnificent works when he was to all intents stone deaf. The ability to hear all those musical notes in his mind, to hear them as a whole is true genius. Every music lover should have a copy of this book, the illustrations alone are worth it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on Beethoven 13 Jan. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my husband, who is a great devotee of Beethoven. We had heard about the book on Classic FM, to which we often listen in the car. It arrived very well packaged and is a lovely book. My husband was delighted to receive it as a Christmas present and says it is beautifully written and a pleasure to handle and to read. Suchet is obiously passionate about his subject.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this book and Suchet's style as well 18 Nov. 2012
By Zamboni
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Thanks to John Suchet for writing such an engaging book about Beethoven.

I am not a musicologist and I can barely read music. However, I am a multi-instrumentalist and I love classical music. Suchet's approach to Beethoven was therefore just what I was looking for.

This book is a detailed account of the life of a troubled genius, of a life spent mostly in solitude. Nevertheless, and what is amazing to me, Beethoven's production of some of the most beautiful music the world has ever heard continued despite personal problems that would have overwhelmed a lesser inspired person.

Beethoven, as he himself seemed to understand, was on a mission - he looked at his life as a mission - to deliver the fruits of his genius; no amount of personal turmoil or suffering could be allowed to deter him from fulfilling this mission, from obeying his "muse."

In addition to providing many, many anecdotes about all periods of Beethoven's life, Suchet engages in some informed speculation about certain disputed areas. These sections I found especially entertaining - informative and well-reasoned.

Again, thank you Mr Suchet. I feel that I am now beginning to understand Beethoven, and I hope to pursue this study further.
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