Beethoven: The Man Revealed (Anglais) Relié – 26 décembre 2013
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'John Suchet offers us a fascinating and touchingly human insight into a great figure who has consumed him for decades. 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. The results in his 'Beethovenia' are always rigorously researched and accompanied by a child-like passion to communicate the composer's true essence.' -- Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music
'Beethoven's music continues to form one of the cornerstones of the concert repertoire some 200 years after it was written, and its sheer ingenuity and inventiveness never cease to amaze the perceptive listener. Knowing the context in which it was written can aid our understanding of the music, and every biography of Beethoven's unusual life has something new to say. Although some aspects of his life, such as his deafness, and his great love for his only nephew, are well known, this book also includes many details that are less familiar. John Suchet writes with infectious enthusiasm, and his avoidance of technical detail makes this a biography that can be read and understood by anyone interested in the composer.' -- Professor Barry Cooper, University of Manchester
'John Suchet's wonderfully readable biography of Beethoven will give a fresh insight for many people into the happenings behind the music. Beautifully illustrated, it will appeal to the music lover who wants to enhance the experience of listening to some of the greatest music ever written.' --Angela Hewitt, Pianist --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .
Présentation de l'éditeur
Now John Suchet has portrayed the real man behind the music in this compelling biography of a musical genius. He reveals a difficult and complex character, struggling to continue his profession as musician despite increasing deafness, alienating friends with unprovoked outbursts of anger one moment, overwhelming them with excessive kindness and generosity the next, living in a city in almost constant disarray because of war with France.
This is not the god-like immortal portrayed in statues and paintings in heroic pose garlanded with laurel leaves. Beethoven may have been one of the greatest artists who ever lived, but he was still a man who had to live among fellow mortals, eat and drink, fall in love, pay his rent. This is the real Beethoven, and Suchet brings him effortlessly to life. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .
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about the circumstances though.
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But the abrasive, even repugnant exterior enveloped an entity so musically gifted and spiritually complex that even one of the world’s most diligent Beethoven authorities acknowledges that writing the definitive, utterly complete story of the great composer’s life may be an unattainable goal. Nevertheless, Suchet comes so close it’s breathtaking.
Not content with half-a-dozen previous books aimed at serious performers, scholars and fellow musicologists, Suchet has turned his vast knowledge, imagination and passion for the Romantic-era genius to the audience that perhaps knows him best --- countless loyal music amateurs like those who tune in to his popular shows on Britain’s Classic FM radio network. That’s most of us; you and me, the friends we go to the occasional symphony concert with, the parents who really want to hear their children try and try again to play through Fur Elise, the adults who put piano lessons on their bucket-lists and actually follow through, people of all ages and walks of life who find priceless solace and pleasure in hearing a Beethoven symphony or string quartet.
For them, and anyone who cares about the profound and often visceral human story that forms any great artist, Suchet has crafted a memorable life that abounds with the kind of detail often overlooked by researchers focused only on verifiable facts. Not that BEETHOVEN: THE MAN REVEALED is lacking whatsoever in dates, documents, names, places and the like. But the resounding difference between this and a multitude of biographies written over the past two centuries is that the context of familiar “truth” gleaned from the composer’s turbulent 56 years on earth has been filled in and colored as never before by an intuitive understanding of human nature, social history and psychological insight.
Rather than pepper his prose with annotated musical score fragments, highly technical theoretical language, or annoying sequences of dry references (notes at the end are just enough to engage the reader further), Suchet unwraps Beethoven’s life as a lively connected narrative, energized on every page by his subject’s crises and triumphs, gains and losses, depression and optimism. His profound lifelong admiration for the German-Austrian genius, who lived from 1770 to 1827, never masks the serious problems Beethoven continually created for himself, his family, friends, colleagues, assistants, business associates, and not least, the countless unfortunate instrumentalists berated and bullied into premiering brilliant works that were chronically finished too late for sufficient rehearsal.
In so many respects, the Bonn native, brought up in a dysfunctional and emotionally confusing family, was his own worst enemy. Without seeming to learn anything from one stressful escapade to the next, he blundered rudely and awkwardly through intimate relationships, social engagements, chaotic finances, dozens of living quarters, and failed or disastrous performance projects. Just as disturbing were his unpredictable outbursts of remorse and generosity; friends never really knew where they stood.
But as Suchet repeatedly demonstrates, Beethoven’s art never failed him; that was the one golden thing everyone knew about him. In fact, some of his most prolific composition periods occurred when his personal life was an ongoing train wreck. That alone is enough to draw fascinated attention to the sheer doggedness of spirit that drove him to pour out the creative contents of a musical brain wired like no other of its day.
As technically complex as they are, Beethoven’s scores in any genre broke new ground and pushed out bold new boundaries on the traditional envelope of musical feeling. No one had ever encompassed such range and depth of human emotion --- so much so that masterpieces initially dismissed as “unplayable” (the Kreutzer violin sonata being a case in point) drove generations of performers, then and now, to strive far out of their artistic comfort zones to achieve the sublime. And it goes without saying how much audiences the world over have benefited.
Ironically, there isn’t anything actually new in BEETHOVEN: THE MAN REVEALED. Every fact, citation or anecdote (verifiable or not) has appeared in writing somewhere, sometime, somehow. Suchet even takes pains to emphasize the unoriginality of his material. What is refreshing and novel here is the imaginative and engaging way in which a formidably tangled skein of pre-existing strands has been deftly unraveled and re-woven into a deeply moving portrait of a composer who literally gave up his life to serve the relentless demands of his art.
Reviewed by Pauline Finch
The book puts us in the musical life of Vienna in the 19th century. The politics of music, the way theaters were run, how Beethoven was financially successful and earned a decent life. He was the king of music in the musical capital of Europe. He humiliated all his rivals and he was a household name. Once he yelled at a prince that his title was nothing but an accident of birth an there are millions of princes, but there is only one Beethoven.The book also helps to explain the historical background of many of Beethoven's compositions. When I hear those pieces after reading this book, I listen to them with a new perspective and joy. Through this book, I also learned why Beethoven and Haydn did not get along. Beethoven once said that he was a pupil of Haydn but he learned nothing from him. Haydn saw a huge potential in him and demanded from him to write under some of his compositions "Beethoven, pupil of Haydn". Beethoven adamantly refused. Haydn punished his by unfairly criticizing his piano trios. Haydn was envious of Beethoven and threatened by him. Beethoven still dedicated pieces of music to Haydn even after all what happened between them. Beethoven did have the highest regard for Mozart and according to this book he took lessons from Mozart for 2 weeks in 1787. The book also touches on Napoleonic war and invasion of Vienna during the life time of Beethoven. This is truly a great biography of Beethoven.