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Beethoven Audiobook

Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph

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Publisher's Summary

Jan Swafford's biographies have established him as a revered music historian, capable of bringing his subjects vibrantly to life. His magnificent new biography of Ludwig van Beethoven peels away layers of legend to get to the living, breathing human being who composed some of the world's most iconic music.

Swafford mines sources never before used in English-language biographies to reanimate the revolutionary ferment of Enlightenment-era Bonn, where Beethoven grew up and imbibed the ideas that would shape all of his future work. Swafford then tracks his subject to Vienna, capital of European music, where Beethoven built his career in the face of critical incomprehension, crippling ill health, romantic rejection, and "fate's hammer," his ever-encroaching deafness.

©2014 Jan Swafford (P)2015 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Indeed, readers will want to refer to the book often when they listen to Beethoven. A marvelous achievement." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (48 )
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3.7 (43 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Don Middleton 01-20-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Huge book - musical reader appreciates best"

    This is an exhaustive book. Not being a trained musician, I found it a little hard to follow some off the discussions of music theory. And because the author often quoted from contemporary sources certain aspects of the composer's life seems to be duplicated. I found that by printing a list of Beethoven compositions and having that available as I listened, I was able to place my favorites in context. It's hard to imagine a more complete version of a person's life from that period. A fine story well told. Had I been more musical I would have rated it much higher.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert W. Brummond Northern VA 02-17-16
    Robert W. Brummond Northern VA 02-17-16 Member Since 2015

    I listen to audio books as I make the 1 hr commute to and from work. I like to learn so prefer nonfiction, science or history.

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    "Very Detailed Biography"
    What did you like best about this story?

    The level of details available about his daily life. Letters and manuscripts (many records kept due to conversations written down because of his deafness).


    Any additional comments?

    I read other reviews that complained about too much musical composition details. I thought that I would still enjoy that part but found myself eventually skipping through those parts as they could only be enjoyed by another composer. I still enjoyed the book and learned much about Beethoven's life which is what I was hoping to learn.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Curt 12-09-15
    Curt 12-09-15
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    "Enjoyable, engrossing."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Beethoven to be better than the print version?

    This is a wonderfully in depth examination of Beethoven's life and his times. My only complaint is the occasional mispronunciation.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Although impossible, yes.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan R. Zeko San Diego 03-08-16
    Jonathan R. Zeko San Diego 03-08-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Wonderful Biography of A Supreme Artist"
    Would you listen to Beethoven again? Why?

    Yes. You cannot separate the music from the person. The author told the story of Beethoven and wove in the analysis of his music synchronized with his life.


    What other book might you compare Beethoven to and why?

    There are other masterpiece books about Beethoven, but this one gave the most expert analysis of the music.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Beethoven's writing the Heiligenstadt Testament and his death bed.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    No film could do justice to such a person.


    Any additional comments?

    Mr. Pritchard is an experienced and excellent narrator. His narration was wonderful, except he mispronounced "Pianoforte" 100s of times.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    horoscopy 06-27-15
    horoscopy 06-27-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Audio Books Can Hardly Get Any Better than This!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Beethoven to be better than the print version?

    extremely good , well researched content on life of Beethoven. Very well written and as well very well narrated!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Beethoven?

    so many!


    Have you listened to any of Michael Prichard’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no..but very much liked it. (first "American" narrator I have listened to in which I really did like the tone or style of "Accent" and narration)


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    several.


    Any additional comments?

    highly recommend!

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    smarmer Los Angeles, CA USA 08-10-16
    smarmer Los Angeles, CA USA 08-10-16 Member Since 2011

    smarmer

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    "Mostly for those familiar with Beethoven's music"
    Any additional comments?

    Excellent biography with much attention to Beethoven's music, his compositional style, and the development of his approach to composing. One feels great empathy for Beethoven while acknowledging his flaws as a person. He was both amazingly generous and sometimes quite stingy, sometimes very loyal to friends, other times more of a social misfit.

    What I appreciated most was the analysis of the turning points of his career and the detailed discussions of crucial pieces, from their significance in the history of music to more fine grained exploration of details ranging from key signatures to ways Beethoven moved toward and away from other composers, whether Haydn, Mozart, or Bach.

    I recommend the book to those who have an equal interest in Beethoven's life and Beethoven's music.

    The narrator, Michael Prichard, was very good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Anderson 03-27-16
    R. Anderson 03-27-16
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    "Great in every way, a must for classical music fan"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book about this remarkable artist. The narrator was outstanding. He removed the barrier between author and listener. It was as if the author was the narrator.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CKnorr Atlanta, GA 11-05-16
    CKnorr Atlanta, GA 11-05-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Too much detail for Audible"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This is probably a great book but I think it would be better in print than on Audible. The VERY detailed explanations of most of Beethoven's works are virtually incomprehensible without being able to listen to the music while you are reading. Unless the reader has an exhaustive memory of all of Beethoven's works or is very familiar with all of the musical terms being used, the narratives run together and are not useful. I found myself skipping through the descriptions of many of Beethoven's works in order to get to the background stories and the biographical information.


    What didn’t you like about Michael Prichard’s performance?

    The narrator largely speaks in a monotone that gets hard to listen to after a few hours. One of my least favorite performances on Audible.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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