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Beethoven: The Universal Composer (Eminent Lives) ..https www.youtube.com watch v 7fQG4CcoRuM ,.. BrilliantThis Book Is A Perfect Marriage Or Should One Say, Duet Of Subject And Author, Every Word As Masterly As The Notes Of The Artist It Illuminates Christopher Buckley, Forbes This Is Not Just Criticism But Poetry In Itself, With The Additional And Inestimable Merit Of Being True Washington Post Book WorldPulitzer Prize Winning Author Edmund Morris The Rise Of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex, Dutch Is One Of America S Most Distinguished Biographers, Known For His Rich, Compulsively Readable Prose Style His Biography Of Beethoven, One Of The Most Admired Composers In The History Of Music, Is Above All A Study Of Genius In Action, Of One Of The Few Giants Of Western Culture Beethoven Is Another Engaging Entry In The HarperCollins Eminent Lives Series Of Biographies By Distinguished Authors On Canonical Figures . This biography of Ludwig von Beethoven is much too condensed, compact, and oversimplified, and therefore is lacking in terms of engrossment and depth of coverage in the topic of music from the German born symphony meister While it may give you an overall outlook on the timeline of important events in the maestro s extraordinary life, it failed to bring out any novelty to the table The thing is, when you are authoring a book for an exclusively segmented niche market as this, and you are not a musician yourself, or at the very least, have a shred of genial musical knowledge or insights, but only an arrant fanatic listener of Beethoven, it becomes clear that your mastery of the subject at hand leans a little bit towards the shallow side, though, I must also say that the writing voice and the language with which Mr Edmund deliver the sleek volume is lyrical and aesthetic, perhaps even worthy of a prestigious literary award in its own merit value If only I haven t perused any other biographies of the mad genius wight, for instance, one from Mr Jan Swafford in particular, a composer himself, the rating should get higher Inclusively, when all is said and done, if you only want to get to know Beethoven casually, do yourself a favor and pick up the book However, when you finally decided to study Beethoven on a serious note, please look somewhere else. Interesting and disappointing Interesting, because Beethoven s life was pretty interesting Disappointing, in that it s a pretty shallow look into his life No new scholarship it doesn t even bring up the new thoughts about what killed Ludwig lead poisoning Disappointing, too, in that I remembered who Edmund Morris is He s the guy who wrote Dutch, the bio on Reagan that s part fiction Makes we wonder what he added to Beethoven s life, although he got the skeleton right, from what I know about the composer.And this opening exchange really set me on edge The British playwright Enid Bagnold once asked a feminist what advice she would give to a twenty three year old housewife who, having lost four children, found herself pregnant again by an abusive, alcoholic husband I would urge her to terminate the pregnancy, the feminist replied Then, said Ms Bagnold, wait for it you would have aborted Beethoven ARGH So, a rightwing sycophant had to inject his politics into a biography in which they didn t belong Fortunately, that s the last he brings anything like that up, but it was still annoying. . Morris is a superb writer who, when given the opportunity to write out of the box, is as good as it gets The epilogue to this great little biography of Beethoven is perfect. Edmund Morris appears to state the facts about Beethoven, as opposed to Marcia Davenport s lush, deeply personal Mozart in which she does state that her story is not a text book Morris does give us of a text book than Davenport, but I was deeply drawn in to the last days of Beethoven I knew of his deafness, but not about the other, and very serious, savages to his body and mind And the fight for custody over a child, also new to me, is the product of the very sick mind of Beethoven I enjoyed this book, but I actually liked Davenport s Mozart better even though she romanticizes in the traditional sense his life while Morris leans toward brutal truths On the other hand, Morris proves , to me at least, Beethoven s musical achievements far outweigh Mozart s While Mozart s music is in general light happy, Beethoven reaches so much further and creates massive depths and heights I m not a big fan of violin music on it s on, but a late Beethoven violin symphony is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I ve ever heard, and Moonlight has been my comfort music for going on forty or so years now And even in Beethoven s first symphony, there are odd moments when the counterpoint is no where in sync with the theme, sort of like some of Beyonc s vocals are off the beat I am not a musician but did play the first movement of Moonlight once in a recital and I was a church pianist for years I don t recall Mozart experimenting as such But I digress This book is a good, well researched, and solid recount of Beethoven s life and music Is he truly one of the three geniuses of music along with Bach and Haydn I d like to hear other s thoughts. Beethoven has always been a favorite of mine I play piano, own a piano, and have many of his works All I knew of the man going into this was that he wastemperamental, for lack of a better word This book definitely confirms that, and adds alot of color Though its not the most coherent biography I ve ever read, by a long shot.The historical setting and cast of characters are well established Various wars, mostly having to do with Napolean, are mentioned when they affected Beethoven or his work There are fun little anecdotes about Haydn, like the part where Beethoven essentially was cheating him out of a sizeable chunk of money The author includes a lengthy discussion about the Immortal Beloved, presumably Antonie Brentano There is considerable exposition on their correspondence, various meetings and insights into Beethoven s forbidden love for her I wish of these sorts of details had been present throughout the book Likewise, the author covers the various musical compositions well You get a good sense of the chronology and development of his musical style One part I found intriguing was the description of his struggle with creating an opera Sorry, Beethoven old man, you were just not meant for opera This information is juxtaposed with discussions about his constant health problems and his reputation.There is worth in reading this book, if you can make it through the somewhat tedious and uneven narrative But I have to think there is a better biography out there somewhere.Thanks for reading.

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