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The Last Master: Passion And Pain: Volume Two of a Fictional Biography of Ludwig van Beethoven: Passion and Pain v. 2 Paperback – 3 Dec 1998
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Suchet's achievement is masterly, bringing Beethoven and the Vienna of his day convincingly to life (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)
The heart-shaking story of genius and passionate loneliness is brilliantly researched and lovingly told (MAIL ON SUNDAY)
A finer piece of literature than the first book ... this is not for academics but for you and me and anyone moved by Beethoven's music, and will probably do more to further understanding of the composer than any professional paper (DAILY TELEGRAPH)
The overall effect is convincing. Beethoven's music is our soul, and here is a readable and sensitive account of how this music came about. (TLS)
Beethoven's raison d'etre- his compositions- come to life thanks to Suchet's passionate descriptons the first performances of some of Ludwig's great works. Ideally read while listening to some of the symphonies. (BELFAST TELEGAPH)
* Second volume of magnificent fictional biography of Ludvig van Beethoven, arguably the greatest composer of all time.See all Product description
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John Suchet is a world renowned expert on Beethoven and these three volumes of biographical/novels go a long way to explaining why. He has used comprehensive, detailed and exhaustive research combined with his great skill as a writer to create the story of Beethoven's life and people his book with well-drawn characters, without whose help and sustained friendship, we would not have the musical masterpieces we have today. Central to his novels is, of course, Beethoven himself; Suchet admits that, at the outset, he did not like Beethoven but, after his initial research followed by the long task of writing the books, he grew to understand him more, respect and like him.
After hearing Beethoven's third symphony, Haydn remarked that music would "never be the same again"; after reading these volumes, the reader's view of Beethoven will never be the same again (and, because of the insights into the driven nature of his life, perhaps other geniuses and major artists too).
For the researcher and student of Beethoven, combining this reading with other scholarly studies, biographies and compendia, e.g. "Beethoven Compendium", "Beethoven - his Spiritual Development", "Classic FM" Guide to Beethoven" (also by John Suchet), one can see how detailed his research was and the clever ways in which he has used it to create this superb biographical/novel.
In his preface, he states that he cannot guarantee that all these events happened but that all of them could have happened. I recommend these three books very highly and other books by John Suchet. They are becoming harder to find, so buy them quickly.
PS There are a few films of Beethoven's life on DVD, which I recommend in this order:
"Eroica" - the story behind and a performance of his third symphony;
"Immortal Beloved" - Gary Oldman's performance is superb as the film probes (not altogether factually) into the identification of his "immortal beloved";
"Copying Beethoven" - not a believable story but watch it for the performance of Ed Harris.
Others in a more documentary style or performances inclued:
"In Search of Beethoven" - Phil Grabsky
"Ode to Freedom" - Bernstein's celebration with the 9th concert after the Berlin Wall fell
"Bernstein/Beethoven" - Bernstein's rehearsal and performance DVDs of all the symphonies.
BUT THE FACTS AVE NOT BEEN ALTERED.
THE FICTION IS IN CONVERSATIONS THAT TOOK PLACE BETWEEN THE PEOPLE CONCERNED, SOMETHING THAT WE COULD NEVER KNOW.
THE BOOK READS LIKE A VERY INTERESTING NOVEL.
A FIRST CLASS BOOK.