“An ideal ‘first book’ on Beethoven” from one of the world’s most eminent classical music aficionados (Booklist).
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.
“A gripping and thought-provoking read.” —Howard Shelley, pianist and conductor
“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.” —Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music