28th October 2020
Professor Laura Tunbridge offers some new perspectives on Beethoven in the year of his 250th anniversary, by walking us through the pieces she chose to represent him in her acclaimed new book Beethoven: A Life in Nine Pieces.
**WINNER of Presto Books' Best Composer Biography**
2020 marks 250 years since Beethoven's birth
Ludwig van Beethoven: to some, simply the greatest ever composer of Western classical music. Yet his life remains shrouded in myths, and the image persists of him as an eccentric genius shaking his fist at heaven.
Beethoven by Oxford professor Laura Tunbridge cuts through the noise in a refreshing way. Each chapter focuses on a period of his life, a piece of music and a revealing theme, from family to friends, from heroism to liberty. It's a winning combination of rich biographical detail, insight into the music and surprising new angles, all of which can transform how you listen to his works. We discover, for example, Beethoven's oddly modern talent for self-promotion, how he was influenced by factors from European wars to instrument building, and how he was heard by contemporaries.
This tour de force - published for the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth - provides a fresh overview and a wealth of material that has never been revealed to the wider public before. It's a compelling, human portrayal of Beethoven and a fascinating journey into one of the world's most amazing creative minds.
'Tunbridge has come up with the seemingly impossible: a new way of approaching Beethoven's life and music. . . profoundly original and hugely readable'
John Suchet, author Beethoven: The Man Revealed
'We are doubly blessed that Beethoven should have led such an extraordinary life. Laura has combined the two - the genius of his music and the richness of his experiences - to shine a revealing light on our greatest composer'
'This well researched and accessible book is a must read for all who seek to know more about the flesh and blood tangible Beethoven.'
John Clubbe, author of Beethoven: The Relentless Revolutionary
'This book is really wonderful! ... However many books on Beethoven you own, find the space for one more. This one'
Stephen Hough, pianist, composer, writer
'In a year when everyone's looking for a new take on Beethoven, Laura Tunbridge has found nine. ...Fresh and engaging'
Norman Lebrecht, author of Genius and Anxiety
'Remarkable . . . she captures the essence of his genius and character. I'll always want to keep it in easy reach'
Julia Boyd, author of Travellers in the third Reich