Beethoven scholar and classical radio host John Suchet has had a lifelong, ardent interest in the man and his music. Here, in his first full-length biography, Suchet illuminates the composer’s difficult childhood, his struggle to maintain friendships and romances, his ungovernable temper, his obsessive efforts to control his nephew’s life, and the excruciating decline of his hearing. This absorbing narrative provides a comprehensive account of a momentous life, as it takes the reader on a journey from the composer’s birth in Bonn to his death in Vienna.
Chronicling the landmark events in Beethoven's career—from his competitive encounters with Mozart to the circumstances surrounding the creation of the well-known Für Elise and Moonlight Sonata—this book enhances understanding of the composer's character, inspiring a deeper appreciation for his work.
Beethoven scholarship is constantly evolving, and Suchet draws on the latest research, using rare source material (some of which has never before been published in English) to paint a complete and vivid portrait of the legendary prodigy.
Paperback: 416 pages Author: John Suchet Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (December 16, 2014) Language: English Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
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.
Editorial Reviews One of Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 Music Books of the Year
"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