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Beethoven Hardcover – Illustrated, 4 Oct 2012
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'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
'John Suchet's wonderfully readable biography of Beethoven will give a fresh insight for many people into the happenings behind the music. Beautifully illustrated, it will appeal to the music lover who wants to enhance the experience of listening to some of the greatest music ever written.' --Angela Hewitt, Pianist
About the Author
John Suchet presents Classic FM's flagship morning programme, from 9am every weekday. His informative style of presentation, coupled with a deep knowledge of classical music, has won a wide spectrum of new listeners to the station. Before turning to classical music, John was one of the UK's best-known television journalists. As a reporter for ITN he covered world events, including the Iran revolution, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Philippines revolution. He then became a newscaster, regularly presenting ITN's flagship News at Ten, as well as all other bulletins, over a period of nearly twenty years.
John has been honoured for both roles. In 1986 he was voted Television Journalist of the Year, in 1996 Television Newscaster of the Year, and in 2008 the Royal Television Society awarded him its highest accolade, a Lifetime Achievement Award. John has been given an honorary degree by his old university, the University of Dundee, and in 2001 the Royal Academy of Music awarded him an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his work on Beethoven. He has published six books on the composer, including the highly acclaimed Beethoven: The Man Revealed (2012). He is also the author of Vienna (2015), Mozart: The Man Revealed (2016) and Verdi: The Man Revealed (2017).
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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.
This book contains lots of very interesting information which any non-music lover can appreciate. He writes the book in a way that anyone can understand. I found it to be more like a great fiction novel which is good! There were many interesting facts I learned from this book that were explained in detail. You can see that the author has read many other Beethoven biographies and just taken all of the important facts and recollected them in this book. I find this brilliant as he gives facts but also tells when the information is not 100% accurate. He gives his own in-depth opinions on any speculation he places before us which I found to be very well thought out.
Compared to other Beethoven biographies which I speculated purchasing, this seemed to be detailed and at a reasonable price. I personally purchased this for just under 5£ which I considered cheap. Many of the other biographies cost more than 15£ which I found to be quite expensive. For the amount of information and detail that went into this book, it is very well priced.
The book is 300 pages long so it takes quite a while to get through. It took me a couple of weeks to get through it with just reading a little bit every day. By the time I was 50% finished the book, the author was already onto close to the end of Beethoven’s life. It just shows how productive Beethoven’s creativity for music was even when he was nearly deaf.
The author did not use very complicated language or anything that would make the book difficult to read. He placed the information very clearly on the pages which anyone could appreciate. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as the author did not bore us with extreme details of Beethoven’s pieces. For me, I would have enjoyed more detail but for most, I can imagine that they want easy-to digest information.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I found it to be very insightful into the life of Beethoven. While it is evident that there are very limited sources of information from Beethoven’s time, the author does a brilliant job of filling you in to the best of his ability. At the very least, you will learn something!
A very easy read for someone who is not a music scholar, just a lover of fine music, who wants to know more about the life of the man. With its references to Vienna, a city with which I am acquainted, I was imagining the locations and settings where some of Beethoven's life evolved. And it was an evolution... from infant prodigy to master of music. A giant of a man as a musician and yet flawed in so many ways as a human being (as we might well be!).
An excellent starter if you want even more depth from other biographies in future, but John writes at my sort of level and this is sufficient to be going on with.
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Glancing through it ! &'spot reading. It's beautifully written.Read more