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Beethoven

The Universal Composer

Edmund Morris

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was a genius so universal that his popularity, extraordinary even during his lifetime, has never ceased to grow. It now encircles the globe: Beethoven's most famous works are as beloved in Beijing as they are in Boston.

Edmund Morris, the author of three bestselling presidential biographies and a lifelong devotee of Beethoven, brings the great composer to life as a man of astonishing complexity and overpowering intelligence. A gigantic, compulsively creative personality unable to tolerate constraints, he was not so much a social rebel as an astute manipulator of the most powerful and privileged aristocrats in Germany and Austria, at a time when their world was threatened by the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte.

But Beethoven's achievement rests in his immortal music. Struggling against progressive, incurable deafness (which he desperately tried to keep secret), he nonetheless produced towering masterpieces, such as his iconic Fifth and Ninth symphonies. With sensitivity and insight, Edmund Morris illuminates Beethoven's life, including his interactions with the women he privately lusted for but held at bay, and his work, whose grandeur and beauty were conceived "on the other side of silence."

Publishers Weekly Review

Aug 01, 2005 – This addition to the Eminent Lives Series by Pulitzer-winning biographer Morris (Theodore Rex; Dutch) does not disappoint. The author provides a close analysis of only one cantata, the early (written at 19) and relatively obscure Joseph II, but leaves no doubt he could easily do the same for the more radical and magisterial works, which are "bothersome to orthodox opinion" about Beethoven's time, were the ground not so well trodden. Outsize in talent, Beethoven was a difficult, ugly little man, uncomfortable with women (Immortal Beloved and a certain amount of "groupie" attention notwithstanding, he seems never to have had a successful romantic relationship), snobbish and a raving egotist. His seven-year legal battle with his sister-in-law over custody of her son assumed "manic proportions" and set him "drifting toward paranoia." Yet not only did his prodigious productivity never falter, his psychosis, alcoholism, chronic rages, famous deafness and increasing illness ("dropsy"—edema—cirrhosis and possibly lupus killed him at 56) actually seemed to spur his genius: the greatest works are the later ones. Morris clearly admires his subject not only for the work but also for his constant fight against the odds, and he has written an ideal biography for the general reader.

Customer Reviews

Well-written account of the maestro that brings Beethoven to life as a real human

Even with all his contradictions, Beethoven remains one of the leading figures of humanity.

Look Elsewhere for Ludwig Van...

Do not purchase this book unless you are desperate to read a biography on Beethoven. I found myself desperate to learn about Ludwig immediately after being struck by a fit of Beethoven fever. The book is not written well, nor is it original. The ideas are stolen bits from other biographies. It wanders about and smacks of an author who is good at writing about dead presidents, who has a thesaurus lying around, and who thought he could crank out some pulp about Ludwig as a lark. It's a mistake.

I now would have recommended to myself Thayer's biography. Watch "Immortal Beloved," then the documentary "In Search of Beethoven," then read Thayer's book, then watch the movies again. Beethoven is such a wonderfully tragic soul who left his unique emotional imprint for all to witness. Long live Herr Beethoven! ...look elsewhere for inspiration.

Beethoven
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  • $8.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Oct 13, 2009
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings