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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

4.3 (81 )
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4.3 (74 )
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3.9 (75 )
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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.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert W. Brummond Northern VA 02-17-16
    Robert W. Brummond Northern VA 02-17-16 Member Since 2015
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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.

    6 of 6 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.


    3 of 3 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 2017
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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
  •  
    Christopher Jenkins 09-17-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Must read for anyone interested in Beethoven"

    An in depth look at the life and works of Beethoven, particularly good for the latter. Narrator is clear and the conveys the tone of the author well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    readymade 06-23-17
    readymade 06-23-17
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    "If you aren't a musician, do not bother."
    Any additional comments?

    This is a great book if you are familiar with the terms, practice and framework that goes into composing classical music. I am not. The book is too opaque for someone w/out any instruction in composition. The storyline of Beethoven's history is there, but it's hard to follow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luis Felipe Llano 04-28-17 Member Since 2016
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    "very good,"

    too detailed for an audio book sometimes hard to follow but enjoyable. i would recommend it for someone who is classically trained musician.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    glen richardson 02-21-17 Member Since 2014
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    "A good listen for the first 4/5 of the book."
    Where does Beethoven rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 30%


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Beethoven?

    His upbring with a an abusive alcoholic father, his musical genius and persistence in getting every note and cord perfect, sometimes taking him weeks to accomplish.


    What does Michael Prichard bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Making what could be a tedious read a good listen.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hans Rigelman 12-15-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Beethoven - the man and his music"

    This is a sad story, but also encouraging as you see how Beethoven struggled through his many physical ailments, tortured by his unrequited loves, but yet wrote some of the most beautiful and passionate music ever heard at his time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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