PASSION AND PAIN, the second volume of John Suchet's compelling trilogy about the life of Ludwig van Beethoven, depicts the composer at the height of his powers, famous throughout Europe, championed by wealthy patrons, sought out by other musicians, yet all the time beset by the great tragedy of his life - his deafness - and struggling to come to terms with it.
The reader is there as Beethoven compares the towering works of the so-called 'heroic period', the 'Eroica' Symphony, the Fifth, the 'Pastoral' Symphony, the 'Emperor' Concerto, the 'Appassionata' Sonata, the 'Kreutzer' Sonata. We share his triumphs and frustrations; we are with him as he receives the adulation of the audience and also as he struggles alone in the middle of the night to hear the great music he is creating. We learn of the one great love of his life, the woman he refers to as his 'Eternally Beloved' - a love that both parties know is doomed. Written as a novel, though at all times strictly in accordance with the known facts, John Suchet has produced a monumental narrative, probably the most comprehensive - and certainly the most readable - account of Beethoven's life ever written.