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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A new Beethoven biography

This year is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven and it seems appropriate to mark that somehow, given RAW's interest in the composer.

There is a major new book about to be released in the United States: Beethoven: A Life in Nine Pieces by Laura Tunbridge, and as you can tell from the title, it presents the composer by focusing on nine of his works: Septet, Opus 20; Violin sonata No. 9, the "Kreutzer"; the Third Symphony; the Choral Fantasy; the song "An die Geliebte" WoO 140; the opera "Fidelio;" the "Hammerklavier" piano sonata; "Missa Solemnis" and String Quartet No. 13 and the "Grosse Fuge." It's not a greatest hits survey, although many of the pieces are well known, but the use of a wide variety of pieces to illuminate a life. 

This is an interesting approach, one more likely to get me to read another Beethoven book than just another biography, and Tunbridge's book is getting really good notices; for example, you can read the review from the Guardian, which mentions a couple of other new Beethoven books which might be of interest. Tunbridge is an Oxford music professor, but this is a book apparently aimed at wide audience, i.e. dunderheads like me, as opposed to folks like Eric Wagner who are comfortable with technical music analysis. 

1 comment:

Eric Wagner said...

Thank you for posting this. I loved Solomon's biography of Beethoven. Bob Wilson mentioned that book on a number of occasions. It doesn't have too much technical detail as I recall.

RIP Eddie Van Halen.