For many people, Beethoven is the greatest composer who ever lived. In this portrait-in-sound, actors’ readings combine with his music to reveal a titanic personality, both vulnerable and belligerent, comic and tragic, and above all heroic, as he comes to grips with perhaps the greatest disability a musician can suffer. No man’s music is more universal; few men’s lives are more inspiring. In every sense but one - his modest height - he was a giant. The great bonus of this audio-biography is that the development of Beethoven’s music can be heard in the context of his life.
"I'm a Believer"
Frédéric Chopin is the pianist-composer par excellence. Regarded as one of the most mesmerizing performers of his day, he lives on in his music – his waltzes, mazurkas, études, preludes, nocturnes, three piano sonatas, two piano concertos, and much more. Here, his life, from his birth in Poland, his famous affair with the French writer George Sand, to his death at the age of 39 in Paris, is told with his music featuring prominently. We think of Chopin as a "frail, sheltered genius" but this forthright portrait demonstrates he was far more boisterous than that.
Brahms is one of the best loved yet most controversial of all the Romantics. Almost uniquely, his works have never suffered the slightest period of eclipse. Profoundly emotional yet governed by an iron discipline, the music, like the man, is a fascinating, entertaining, often deeply moving blend of opposites. He had a gift for friendship and a capacity for love far beyond the ordinary, yet no man could be ruder or more hurtful.
Tchaikovsky is one of the most popular composers of all time. His melodies are known to many people who may never have heard his name. They crop up on mobile telephones, alarm clocks and answering machines as often as on records and concert programs. Like his music, the man himself was widely loved, but his inner life was fraught with sufferings, confusions and a deep vein of self-doubt. The drama of his emotional life is vividly reflected in his music, letters and diaries, all of which play a major part in this intimate portrait-in-sound.
"Loved this audible book"
The two reigns - both unusually long - could scarcely have been more different. Queen Elizabeth I brought a much needed (and appreciated) stability to England at a key moment in the history of the nation. Queen Elizabeth II has, by contrast, been the constitutional monarch par excellence.