Beethoven, a Life

Univ. of California. Sept. 2020. 680p. ISBN 9780520343542. $34.95. MUSIC
As part of BTHVN2020, a yearlong celebration (which has been extended to September 2021) of the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth, the University of California Press, in close cooperation with Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, is publishing this first English translation of Belgian conductor and musicologist Caeyers’s 2009 biography. Over the years, a number of legends and misconceptions about Beethoven have often been taken for fact, and this perceptive work puts them to rest in no uncertain terms. Caeyers covers Beethoven’s personal and professional life as well as that of his contemporaries, including friends, family, patrons, and fellow musicians, all set in rich historical context. Beethoven’s own life was often tempestuous, and the times in which he lived were no less turbulent. Includes an extensive bibliography and two helpful indexes, one of works and one of people.
VERDICT Detailed and engaging, this fitting tribute to the iconic composer will enrich anyone’s enjoyment and appreciation of his great music.

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