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The Life and Works of Beethoven (Anglais) Lecteur digital à contenu audio pré-chargé – 1 mai 2008

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x94ea5b04) étoiles sur 5 5 commentaires
23 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x94ec09b4) étoiles sur 5 A study in genius with its blessings and drawbacks 14 août 2001
Par F. Behrens - Publié sur
Format: CD
<Beethoven > Naxos is doing a wonderful job with its emerging "Life and Works" series. Quite some time ago, we had a Life/Works of Mozart, more recently one of Chopin and now two more, Liszt and Beethoven. Both are even better packaged than are the earlier sets, with a thick booklet that offers us essays on the historical background, the position of the composer in his time, a look at the major works, a listening plan, recommended readings, personalities, a calendar of the artist's life, a glossary, a discography--and finally something I thought I would never see, the text of the recording's narration. This booklet is worth the price of the set alone.
The Liszt set starts with the sound of artillery, the Beethoven with the sound of a cork popping. A good way to grab your attention, surely, but also to make you think they packaged the wrong disc in the jewel case!
Written and narrated by Jeremy Siepmann, the production enlists some excellent actors to play the people in the composer's life. In the "Beethoven" set (8.558024-27), we have Bob Peck as the usually tormented voice of Beethoven, who is joined by David Timson, Neville Jason, Elaine Claxton, and Karen Archer as the voices of Beethoven's friends, critics, and loves. The musical selections are drawn from the bottomless well of Naxos recordings.
As I commented with regard to the other sets, the music is well chosen but some of it simply lasts too long for those who are eager to get on to the facts of the composer's life. On the other hand, this IS called the Life and Works series, and perhaps a balance is to be maintained between the two aspects.
Beethoven's idiosyncrasies make a good comparison with those of Chopin, the former doing everything he could to call attention to himself, the latter withdrawn--but both acting like bloody fools in so many ways. Perhaps that is the price of genius. The tale of his "Immortal Beloved" is briefly treated here, but it is fascinating to follow his amores, which are invariably with women he could never hope to attain. The most surprising element is his early popularity as a Very Witty Person, an estimate he quickly lost when deafness came upon him.
Along with the other three sets, a both fascinating and informative recording.
Question: ...
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x94ec0a8c) étoiles sur 5 "Suffering is not external ... it is an essential part of the human experience!" 10 juin 2009
Par Paul Weiss - Publié sur
Format: Lecteur digital à contenu audio pré-chargé
Informative, educational, entertaining, breathtaking, moving and (fill in your favourite superlative here!) What an absolutely brilliant use of the audio book medium to combine a book and music into a single format.

We have a wonderfully narrated (and extremely well acted) story of Beethoven as a man - the ruthless, indeed, brutal exploitation of the young genius by his father, Johann, who was determined to profit from his son's abilities in the same fashion as Leopold Mozart squeezed his brilliant child prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus; Beethoven's heartbreaking (and perennially unsuccessful) obsession with obtaining a wife and female companionship; the devastating universal rejection of his overtures of love (never mind that the objects of his affection were invariably unavailable either by class, by age or by virtue of being already married); the young Beethoven's arrogant self-confidence that not only expressed nary a scintilla of doubt in his own abilities but even loudly professed that he learned absolutely nothing from his aging colleagues, Mozart and Haydn; the virtual abduction of his deceased brother's son, Karl, and his almost lifelong battle against Karl's mother, Johanna; and, of course, the tragedy of his progressive deafness and chronic abdominal pain.

Then there was his prolific, almost miraculous output of some of the finest music that the world has ever been granted the opportunity to hear - symphonies, etudes, quartets, quintets, sonatas, choral works, chamber music, concerti, masses. Cutting edge music such as his 32nd and final piano sonata defied current convention and re-wrote the musical rule books as to what was acceptable and beautiful. Although this sonata, for example, was fundamentally what we would historically label as classical in nature, it was also avant-garde, entirely original and bore no resemblance to the baroque music that immediately preceded it. Certain rhythms, enormous variations in both tempi and volume, and striking dissonant harmonies would even lead many of today's listeners (unfamiliar with Beethoven) to feel they were listening to the beginnings of modern jazz piano. The breathtaking and entirely unprecedented final movement of his ninth symphony, with orchestra, full mixed chorus and four soloists, was so far ahead of its time as to lay the groundwork for Mahler's enormous choral masterworks that weren't to appear until over 70 years later.

Despite being a curious concatenation of ostentatious self-pity (one could admit that this was, to a certain extent, warranted given his physical ailments), ugly eccentricities, beastly manners and sometimes less than faithful personal hygiene habits, Ludwig van Beethoven was liked by his friends. He styled himself a Bacchus whose mission in life was the dissemination of joy to the world through his music. And now ... this brilliant audio work has made me painfully aware that I have only begun to scratch the surface of that enormous repertoire of joy. How ironic is it that one of Beethoven's final works, written at a time when he was most ill and most profoundly deaf was a setting of a poem entitled "Ode to Joy"! I've got an enjoyable bit of work in front of me to delve deeper into Beethoven's music!

I must say I'm looking forward to more CDs in this series! Goodness knows there are lots to choose from - Haydn, Chopin, Bach, Liszt, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Schubert and more! I'm thrilled to have discovered such a gem.

Paul Weiss
HASH(0x94ec0ec4) étoiles sur 5 Not just for neophytes 1 décembre 2013
Par Joseph M. Woodland - Publié sur
Format: CD Achat vérifié
This is an enjoyable walk through the life and major works of Beethoven. I listened to it in the car during my commute and it made the time on the road fly by. The narration is insightful and well delivered. I would recommend this set to anyone who is looking to gain some insight into the life and times of a great composer and difficult man.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x94ec0eac) étoiles sur 5 Learning About Beethoven 19 novembre 2011
Par Ray - Publié sur
Format: Cassette
Siepmann's wonderfully written and narrated work on the life of Beethoven is a truly educational--and enjoyable--traipse through the life of one of the world's greatest ever composer. What makes this offering by Naxos so special is the combination of an intelligently written script punctuated with a beautiful musical support that brings each of the pieces to life at the appropriate moments in the story. And these are no low-quality recordings, as we might see in some other, similar attempts: these are high-quality Naxos recordings, drawn from the huge Naxos library of recordings, many so good that you may find yourself "hunting down" some of these Naxos works in order to purchase the entire sets (unfortunately, however, not listed within the printed artwork for this work, a seemingly terrible omission. But never-the-mind, this is storytelling at its best, with a wonderful breadth of span that covers all of Beethoven's life, and lets us visualize the approximate moments when the composer focused his immense musical talents on the variety of genres he wrote for (symphonies, string quartets, choral works, bagatelles, and so on). It's marvelously done with the highest of production qualities from beginning to end, and I therefore cannot but else rate this as a straight five-star review, even when considering its somewhat high price. If you can find it used, that's all the better, but even if not, if you are a Beethoven fan, you'll find all kinds of interesting and enjoyable things in this impressive work.

Also see by Naxos:
The Life and Works of Haydn
The Life and Works of Bach
The Life and Works of Mozart
HASH(0x94ec3390) étoiles sur 5 For those curious about the man... 28 avril 2013
Par Emanuela Giangregorio - Publié sur
Format: CD Achat vérifié
I have been familiar with Beethoven's music and certain important details of his life (his poor hearing and his initial admiration then contempt for Napoleon, for instance) but this musical anthology interspersed with in depth biographical information managed to educate me about the man and give me an even greater appreciation for the uniqueness of his music.
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