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Beethoven The Man Revealed Paperback
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I would like to add to the above review. Suchet's bio was my intro to Beethoven so I am grateful for the overview. However, having recently returned from Vienna, not only do I not agree with some of the assumptions he makes, I have found his facts to be incorrect. For example he says Beethoven's casket was carried from his apartment toward the Votivkirche for the funeral mass. The problem is that the Votivkirche was not even constructed for another 25 years. And at the end of the book he says there was an additional service at a parish church by the Wahring cemetery. This is also incorrect. The service was held at the Drieiflatigkeitkirche and then the funeral oration given just outside the
gate of the cemetery. The monument for Beethoven is still accessible in what is now called Schubert Park. My concern is that if these simple facts are incorrect, how can one believe suppositions? It seems in an effort to write a good narrative there are distorted assumptions and facts.
Top reviews from other countries
This book contains lots of very interesting information which any non-music lover can appreciate. He writes the book in a way that anyone can understand. I found it to be more like a great fiction novel which is good! There were many interesting facts I learned from this book that were explained in detail. You can see that the author has read many other Beethoven biographies and just taken all of the important facts and recollected them in this book. I find this brilliant as he gives facts but also tells when the information is not 100% accurate. He gives his own in-depth opinions on any speculation he places before us which I found to be very well thought out.
Compared to other Beethoven biographies which I speculated purchasing, this seemed to be detailed and at a reasonable price. I personally purchased this for just under 5£ which I considered cheap. Many of the other biographies cost more than 15£ which I found to be quite expensive. For the amount of information and detail that went into this book, it is very well priced.
The book is 300 pages long so it takes quite a while to get through. It took me a couple of weeks to get through it with just reading a little bit every day. By the time I was 50% finished the book, the author was already onto close to the end of Beethoven’s life. It just shows how productive Beethoven’s creativity for music was even when he was nearly deaf.
The author did not use very complicated language or anything that would make the book difficult to read. He placed the information very clearly on the pages which anyone could appreciate. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as the author did not bore us with extreme details of Beethoven’s pieces. For me, I would have enjoyed more detail but for most, I can imagine that they want easy-to digest information.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I found it to be very insightful into the life of Beethoven. While it is evident that there are very limited sources of information from Beethoven’s time, the author does a brilliant job of filling you in to the best of his ability. At the very least, you will learn something!
Suchet seeks to focus on Beethoven the man, rather than his music, but this is a false division. As a result, we get no exploration about how the music and the man interacted, how such a troubled soul could express such beauty and spiritual depth in his music, how the classical school evolved, how society fostered music, and how music inspired society. Suchet claims Beethoven as the greatest European composer of his time, but, great as Beethoven undoubtedly was, Suchet gives neither criteria nor evaluation for this bold assertion.
I thoroughly recommend this book.
Some things were annnoying: the 9th Symphony is rightly given a big build-up, but the Missa Solemnis, which Beethoven himself regarded as his best work (I agree!), is downplayed to a couple of lines. Suchet pronounces the cause of his death as cirrhosis of the liver (it could have been a number of things) but an alcohol problem is never referenced throughout the book, as one might have expected. Perhaps the best you can say, is that it's fired up my interest.