The Ninth

Beethoven and the World in 1824
The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2010. ISBN 9780307715708. $35; digital download. Random Audio. MUSIC/BIOG
The Ninth Symphony is not just one of greatest musical masterpieces of all time—it was also Beethoven's evocation of the prerevolutionary climate of 1824, a time of unrest and yearning for personal freedom. With that seminal hymn, he brilliantly captured that tension while also celebrating humanity's collective spirit. Here, Sachs (Curtis Inst. of Music, Philadelphia) puts the composition into historical context, packing his writing with down-to-earth humor and including candid reactions of other artists to Beethoven's work and influence. The numerous European accents actor Patrick Egan employs (e.g., Lord Byron) are appropriately grand and glorious and enhance the overall listening experience. For anyone liking biographies and for all students and enthusiasts of music and history. ["A thought-provoking, broadly based, well-informed discussion that should appeal to well-educated general readers as well as music specialists," read the review of the Random hc, LJ 1/10.—Ed.]—Susan G. Baird, formerly with Oak Lawn P.L., IL
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