- Retail Price:
20% off for Members: Get the Club Price
Customers Also Bought
More than a decade in the making, this will be the standard Beethoven biography for years to come."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-07-14
- Reviewer: Staff
In this brilliant, exhaustive story, biographer and music historian Swafford (Johannes Brahms) brings new life to Beethoven, animating the composer’s immersion in music and his tenacious grip on his ideas related to music’s ability to deepen the world’s beauty, tragedy, and comedy. Drawing on never-before-seen sources, Swafford chronicles year-by-year Beethoven’s life and music from his birth and childhood in Bonn, his earliest compositions at age 12 to his deafness at age 27; his struggles to distinguish himself from his teachers and models, such as Haydn; and his composition of the great Ninth Symphony. By the time he was 20, Swafford points out, Beethoven was a “splendid young talent flexing his creative muscles, showing off a precocious knowledge of harmony, the orchestra, and operatic-style expressiveness.” Swafford wonderfully describes Beethoven’s going deaf: “For Beethoven, this was a decay from within: a slow death, the mind watching it, helpless before the grinding of fate. Fate would become an abiding theme for him, its import always hostile.” (Aug.)