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Beethoven, A Life Reviews

Beethoven, A Life by Jan Caeyers, Daniel Hope, Brent Annable

Beethoven, A Life

Jan Caeyers, Daniel Hope, Brent Annable

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 18 Aug 2020
ISBN: 9780520343542
4 stars out of 5
25 Sep 2020

"Caeyers seeks to unravel the networks that influenced Beethoven’s career, to paint portraits of those who supported him"

The life is no less interesting stripped of its Romantic trappings — the childhood in Bonn with an alcoholic father; the importance of early mentors; the move to cosmopolitan Vienna in 1792. The decline into a lonely late-middle age, accentuated by severe deafness, is sympathetically handled. The result is a very readable book that, as a byproduct, offers a generous supply of scene-setting detail. This ranges from life in Vienna in the early 19th century to the grinding economic impact of the French revolution and its aftermath, and even the bathing customs in Bohemian spa towns (“guests would slowly revolve around the colonnade like ponies on a carousel”).