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Beethoven: The Man Revealed (Anglais) Relié – 26 décembre 2013

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Revue de presse

'I have loved and performed Beethoven since I was very young and have read a good deal about the life and times of this giant among composers, but John Suchet's infectious enthusiasm and fascination, probing the details behind every step of his life, and turning sensitive sleuth when the facts are less clear, opens new vistas and makes for a gripping and thought-provoking read.' -- Howard Shelley, Pianist and Conductor

'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

It is perhaps more true of Beethoven than any other composer that if you know what is going on in his life, you listen to his music through different ears. Ludwig van Beethoven's life - its dramas, conflicts, loves and losses, his deafness coupled with continuous health problems, his epic struggle with his sister-in-law for sole custody of her son, his nephew - is played out in his music.

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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Par CELEF le 4 septembre 2014
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Good job, although as it is the case with most biographies the real man remains a mystery. Learnt a lot
about the circumstances though.
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Par sox le 31 décembre 2013
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Livre en anglais. Si vous voulez comprendre ne serait ce qu'un peu ce génie, unique au monde, toujours aussi inspirant, il vous faut lire ce livre qui est écrit avec beaucoup de sincérité et honnêteté. Vraiment merveilleux !!
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5 48 commentaires
25 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Coudn't put it down! 1 janvier 2014
Par Tessa Smith - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
Although I'm not much for reading biographies, I am a musician who found this treatment of the life of this great composer mesmerizing and engaging. Suchet's attention to detail and well researched material comes shining through. He lures the reader into the life of this troubled musical genius and pulls aside the curtain to see the real man behind the music and the myth. It read more like a novel in some ways that a dry biography as Suchet effectively uses invented, along with actual well documented, dialogue that transported me back to early 19th century Vienna. The author's knowledge of music is apparent to say the least, as he describes Beethovan's compositions in technical terms while also giving insight into the mind of the composer at the time. I had a playlist of Beethovan's great works playing in my head while I read, from great works like the lyrical Pastorale symphony (no. 6) to the intense and technically difficult Kreutzer violin concerto. Yet he writes with an effortless style and plain language that can be understood by non music readers as well. Suchet also meticulously documents his sources and makes it clear, with little apology, where the facts end and his supposition takes over. Yet even then it all fits together in such a plausible way as to feel as if Beethovan pops off the page in all his disheveled and boisterous nature. For anyone who loves classical music and has an appreciation for Beethovan and an interest in learning more of the man behind the music this is a must read.
17 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Deeply Moving Portrait 9 janvier 2014
Par Bookreporter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
He was an emotional basket case, an incorrigible misogynist, a social misfit, a shocking child abuser, a cheat, a liar, a grievance collector, a tenant from hell, a friend who would outrage even one’s sworn enemies. Those are only a few of the character traits attached to the unruly protagonist of John Suchet’s evocative new biography, BEETHOVEN: THE MAN REVEALED.

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
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Jacket description on the mark 24 décembre 2013
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
As the jacket states, this book not written for the musicologist. Yet, there are enough musical references (how could there not be?) to satisfy most musically inclined people and to appeal to a broader audience. The attention to detail is engaging re his early life and sheds light on the man/composer he became. I found Suchet's suppositions drawn from the facts that are known to be of interest as well. All in all, an excellent treatment of the genius with all his flaws.
8 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Beethoven: the human being and the genius 15 janvier 2014
Par Shirwan Mirza, MD - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This is an extraordinary biography from an author who dedicated almost 3 decades of his life to study Beethoven. For me, the most moving part was to read his handwritten Last Will that he wrote around 1803 while he was relaxing at a suburb of Vienna escaping the noise of the capital city of music, a noise that he was ironically unable to hear. His deafness, that he considered a defect that a musician ought not to have, frustrated him and drove him to the verge of suicide and according to his Last Will only his art saved him. It frustrated him that he could not hear the song or the flute of a Shepard. He was able to hear music in his head but his ability to compose for human voice (operas) was not as refined that is why he did not write any opera after his failed one. In his last will, one can hear his humanity, his vulnerability, his love, delicate heart, and his triumph over his deafness. He also opened a new chapter of his life accepting his deafness, declared that he was unsatisfied with his works, although he was at the peak of his music career as a composer and a virtuoso. He came back to Vienna and after that Last Will a new era of his life began until his death and the flow of magical compositions never ceased. With the composition of his 3rd symphony the Eroica, not only a new Beethoven emerged, but he changed the course of music for ever. He knew his place in history. The author has a clear vision for his book. All the stages of Beethoven life are clearly outlined. All his friends, enemies, all the women he loved, all the apartments he lived in, his unkempt appearance, his disregard to rules and norms, all explained in a most organized way. It reads like a novel.
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.
37 internautes sur 53 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Censors out the spiritual 17 janvier 2014
Par Phil Grant - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Beethoven wrote: “We, finite beings who are the embodiment of an infinite spirit, are born to suffer both pain and joy, and it could almost be said the most distinguished of us know joy through pain.” No, Suchet does not include this quote in his book, which I admit might be called a titillating page turner that with only a few further adulterations of the truth might make a popular Hollywood flick. Rather, he focuses entirely on the finite being of Beethoven, even censoring out anything that might be the slightest bit spiritual. For example, he tells us that Beethoven wrote, “No one can love the country as much as I do.” But he leaves out the very next sentence (found in Maynard Solomon’s Beethoven): “For surely woods, trees, and rocks produce the echo man longs to hear.” And what is that echo of? Our infinite spirit — what Beethoven also calls the Godhead — of course. Suchet doesn’t want to know about that. More importantly, he doesn’t want us to know about it. Nor do we need to know this quote: “It seems as if in the country every tree said to me, ‘Holy! Holy!’—Who can give complete expression to the ecstasy of the woods?” Suchet doesn’t mind telling us about every irrational rage, every description of the squalor Beethoven lived in and his lack of concern for personal hygiene. He gives a complete account of the time he was mistakenly arrested for looking like a tramp. But to tell us he felt that every tree said to him, “Holy! Holy!” Well, this is over the top.

He also doesn’t think it’s worth including quotes (again, found in Solomon) such as “There is nothing higher than to approach the Godhead more nearly than other mortals, and by means of that contact to spread the rays of the Godhead throughout the human race,” written at the time he was composing the Ninth Symphony. Nor this one (also in Solomon) regarding the Missa Solemnis, “My chief aim was to awaken and permanently instill religious feelings not only into the singers but also into the listeners.” No, in the “great” tradition of humanism overspreading our planet these days, for Suchet and so many others, well, this is something they just don’t want to think about. Or want us to think about either. Solomon, despite his rather annoying psychoanalytical approach, at least gives us these quotes.

And despite Suchet’s acknowledgment that Beethoven’s last works — the Ninth, the Late Quartets, the last three piano sonatas and the Missa Solemnis — are “his greatest body of work,” I can only presume he never read J.W.N. Sullivan’s Beethoven: His Spiritual Development, likely due to the word spiritual in its title. Sullivan understood, writing (regarding the 14th String Quartet) of a “vi¬sion . . . that resolves all our discords. . . . It is a transfigured world. . . . All creation . . . seems to be taking part in this exultant stirring. If ever a mystical vision of life has been presented in art it is here. . . .” Nothing in this book, though, like that.

Sullivan also informs us that found on Beethoven’s writing desk after his death were the following quotations from Eastern sources: “I am that which is.” “I am all that was, that is, that shall be.” Solomon also gives these as well as: “He is of himself alone, and it is to this Aloneness that all things owe their being.” The essence of these sayings, and the above quotations of Beethoven, is repeated by such diverse persons as Zen master Huang Po and Albert Einstein. Huang Po: “Beginningless time and the present moment are the same. Understanding this is called complete and unexcelled enlightenment.” “That which before you is it, in all its fullness. There is naught beside.” “This One Pure Mind, the source of everything, shines forever and on all with the brilliance of its own perfection.” And Einstein in letters near the end of his life: “A human being is part of the Whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us. . . . Our task must be to free ourselves. . . .” And: “For us convinced [in the truth of the theory of relativity, confirmed over and over] physicists the difference between past, present, and future is only the matter of an illusion.” Note that Beethoven wrote in his Tagebuch that in the Vedas it is written that for God absolutely there is no time. But all this is not something that concerns Suchet.

T.S. Eliot understood. The great masterpiece which won him the Nobel Prize, Four Quartets, arose out of his profound listening to the Late Quartets. They changed his life, as they did mine. At the very end he quotes English mystic Lady Julian of Norwich: “And all shall be well / And all manner of thing shall be well.” Which is precisely what is expressed in the third movement of the Ninth, the “Holy Song of Thanksgiving” of the 15th Quartet, the second movement of the 32nd Sonata, the Sanctus/Benedictus of the Missa Solemnis, the inner movements of the 14th Quartet, etc.

The great 19th-century pianist and conductor Hans von Bülow understood. In his edition of the Beethoven sonatas he wrote the two movements of the 32nd can be considered “Resistance, resignation, or better still, Samsara, Nirvana.” Exactly so. Von Bülow was also known for his double performances of Beethoven’s Ninth. But on one occasion when just a single performance was planned, upon determining at its conclusion the audience was insufficiently appreciative he . . . repeated the entire massive Symphony. This prompted one critic to write, “He baptizes the infidels with a fire hose.” No, this isn’t in Suchet’s book.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some juicy nuggets here. My favorite concerns the rehearsals for the Ninth: the contralto threw a tantrum over the extreme difficulty of her part — which Beethoven refused to change — and called him to his face, “A tyrant over all the vocal organs.” Then she turned to her fellow soloists and said, “Well then, we must go on torturing ourselves in the name of God!”

But Suchet doesn’t see that this is precisely what Beethoven’s entire life was about: being tortured, utterly tortured — by deafness, by failure in love, by what Byron called “the mind’s canker in its savage mood,” — just so the rays of the Godhead could be spread throughout the human race. In fact this is nothing less than the most solemn duty of every true artist — to allow this to happen. And Beethoven understood the process well, for he wrote in 1816 just prior to the years when he composed his most profound works, “Man cannot avoid suffering . . . he must endure without complaining and feel his worthlessness and then again achieve his perfection, that perfection which the Almighty [a.k.a. the infinite spirit, Godhead, That Which Is, etc.] will then bestow upon him.” While Suchet does admit these last works are among the closest to perfection by any human, as far as their meaning goes, well . . . that just doesn’t interest him. (Readers who are interested in meaning may find Cabeza and the Meaning of Wilderness: An Exploration of Nature, and Mind, available at [...], worth reading. While perhaps only 10 to 20% of the book directly concerns music — primarily the last works of Bach, Beethoven, and Schubert —all of it, in one way or another, delves deeply into that wilderness of Mind from which all great art arises.)

And why is Suchet so obtuse? Perhaps if he’d read Kay Redfield Jamison’s Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament he might have had a little more understanding. If anyone was ever touched with fire, it was Beethoven. But even Jamison doesn’t get to the heart of the matter, which Eliot puts so succinctly: “Human kind cannot bear very much reality” — which applies, in vastly varying degrees, to both the author and subject of this book.

So I suggest boycotting this book. Why contribute to the material enrichment of someone who just doesn’t want to know? Read Sullivan and Solomon, then either get it out of the library as I did, or buy it used here at Amazon. [...]
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