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The Classic FM Friendly Guide to Beethoven Paperback – 25 Aug 2006
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"Anecdotal and informative" (Classical Music)
A friendly, jargon-free introduction to Beethoven and his music, including a CD with excerpts from his top 20 hits.See all Product description
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This is an ideal companion for anyone interested in his music, an excellent addition to a concert programme or pre-Prom reading, the reason I bought it.
Suchet's knowledge of Beethoven's music and life is encyclopaedic and he uses it to great effect to explain the genesis and development of the man and his music. It is cleverly divided up into fourteen interesting chapters, each subdivided using text changes and highlighting.
On page 245, it also includes a "Beethoven Mood Chart" to raise or lower the blood pressure, a section on where to look for more and a wealth of other information on, e.g. the use of his music in films and films about him.
It is an essential addition to any bookshelf on Beethoven.
It is described as `hardcover', but is more a stiff paperback than true hardback, and the paper quality is a little on the budget side, but considering it comes with a CD full of Beethoven's 'greatest hits' it is great value for money.
There are numerous books on the subject of Beethoven, but few are as easy as this one to pick up and read during those spare five minutes.
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I had to chuckle when I saw that picture of John Suchet on the back cover holding, you guessed it, a bust of Beethoven only because I immediately thought of that hilarious Muppet Show skit with Victor Borge, Fozzie-Bear and the "Bust of Beethoven" [voice and concept by Jerry Nelson]. Look that one up on the web and prepare for some mighty guffaws! Ah! And for those in the know, to have that "Bust of Beethoven" handy when I play Beethoven, you know, comes the errant clinker and the "Bust of Beethoven" pipes up 'defending' same to any clinker sniffing listener a la the famous, "No, that's the way I wrote it!"
So too, John Suchet, a well known TV journalist and newscaster in the UK, has written various articles and tomes about Beethoven [not to mention his Beethoven shows and talks] although his trilogy ["The Last Master" series and which I enjoyed immensely due to its 'happening now' formula!] uses a dramatic action format where the personalities come to life via the first person so to speak. That takes savvy of the historical personality to pull off not to mention bringing to life, as it were, the other personalities involved in Beethoven's life.
Finally, if you should by chance run into John Suchet [UK] and wish to immediately get his attention and concurrently get on his good side forthwith, say the following with dutiful conviction: "So, John, , what is your own view of the "Bridgetower" [!] Violin Sonata Op. 47?" John has [so they say] an excellent sense of humor so be prepared if you're ever at the piano across the waters in the UK and offer to play a Beethoven piece, John just might reflect over the many Beethoven pieces and then come out with something like, "Play ... "Julie's Sonata" [!] ... Ta, mate [or love]!"
You will have to read the book for the 'why' of those last two tongue-in-cheek remarks but you won't be disappointed! Also see the 'Classic FM' "friendly guide" book on Mozart! Another page turner by way of its unique format and approach to the subject. I like the page format too, easy on the read and the eyes while moving along smartly .. as they say.