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Editorial Reviews

This superb documentary features an unpretentious, well-written, intelligent narrative; excerpts from the composer's own correspondence and other contemporary documents; and liberal, lengthy quotations of Beethoven's music. Most popular accounts, fiction and nonfiction, of Beethoven's life either sentimentalize or demonize the man. Here, however, we receive the most balanced and humane account of his personality. The author, a noted British musicologist, delivers his own copy with informality and warmth, and five worthy actors handle the excerpts. Best of all, Naxos has chosen music recordings that highlight the tempestuous romanticism that most notably informed Beethoven's groundbreaking works and personal gestalt.
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Publisher's Summary

For many people, Beethoven is the greatest composer who ever lived. In this portrait-in-sound, actors' readings combine with his music to reveal a titanic personality, vulnerable and belligerent, comic and tragic, and above all, heroic, as he comes to grips with perhaps the greatest disability a musician can suffer. No man's music is more universal; few men's lives are more inspiring. In every sense but one - his modest height - he was a giant.
© and (P)2001 NAXOS AudioBooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Rand on 08-21-03

beethoven's life and works

Read by the author, the reading is fluid and beautifully nuanced. Yes, the illustrative musical passages are sometimes a bit long, and not of the highest audio standard, but the quality is adequate for getting the author's points across. There is a good balance of life and works in the portrayal, my only complaint being that I would have liked a bit more discussion of the musical dynamics in LVB's compositions -- the presentation is light in this regard. The voice of LVB in quotation is absolutely wonderful, positively surly. LVB's life was cosmically tortured, and the story itself is utterly gripping. The author does a wonderful job of contrasting LVB's transcendent music with the pedestrian sorrows of his life. I've listened to this audio book perhaps 5 times -- it's one of those books that you can listen to over and over without losing interest. Warning: after listening to this book, you will want to listen to every composition LVB ever wrote. It's a great introduction to Beethoven.

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful


By stephen dumpert on 02-15-03

more life less music

The program is called The Life and Works of Beethoven, but it is a bit short on the life and heavy on the works. This would not be bad but the sound of the music is not very good and some of the music is played too long. But over all I did enjoy this program.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Margaret on 03-24-09

the magic of Beethoven

This audio book is so easy to listen to and it gives a clear idea of the life of this wonderful composer with its many difficulties. Some of these difficulties were the result of Beethovens inability to say out loud that he was becoming deaf and some were probably rooted in his unhappy childhood. I was left in tears with the last piece of music, Beethoven was right not to be worried about what would happen to his music - it will live forever

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By M. Blythe on 12-14-16

Mainly music not biography

I wanted a biography of the composer. most of this recording is highlights from music, not what I wanted but quite well done if that's what you're after.

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