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The Life and Works of Beethoven Audiobook

The Life and Works of Beethoven

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Audible Editor Reviews

This superb documentary features an unpretentious, well-written, intelligent narrative; excerpts from the composer's own correspondence and other contemporary documents; and liberal, lengthy quotations of Beethoven's music. Most popular accounts, fiction and nonfiction, of Beethoven's life either sentimentalize or demonize the man. Here, however, we receive the most balanced and humane account of his personality. The author, a noted British musicologist, delivers his own copy with informality and warmth, and five worthy actors handle the excerpts. Best of all, Naxos has chosen music recordings that highlight the tempestuous romanticism that most notably informed Beethoven's groundbreaking works and personal gestalt.

Publisher's Summary

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, 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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

© and (P)2001 NAXOS AudioBooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (97 )
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4.0 (28 )
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3.9 (27 )
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Performance
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  •  
    J. Hill Atlanta, GA 03-22-04
    J. Hill Atlanta, GA 03-22-04 Listener Since 2003
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    "Excellent for non-musicians"

    This reminded me of Karl Haas' <I>Adventures in Good Music</I> on NPR. It focuses on Beethoven's character and what was happening in his life when different pieces were composed. It's very accessible to someone unfamiliar with musical terms. Much of the information comes from letters by Beethoven and others, read by various actors.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jorge NORFOLK, VA, USA 12-25-03
    Jorge NORFOLK, VA, USA 12-25-03
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    "AMAZING!!!!!!"

    This is really a wonderfull portrait of one of the greatest composers ever. I always tought of Beethoven's music as being a bit too strong because I only knew the symphony's works, but it was totally fascinating.
    A+++ !

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Cleveland, OH, United States 10-19-03
    Daniel Cleveland, OH, United States 10-19-03 Member Since 2017
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    Overall
    "mostly music, light on biography"

    This title is mainly music, with small pieces of biography interspersed. If you are looking for music of beethoven, from various genres, with a small amount of anecdote placed in between, this is just the ticket. If you are looking for a biography, or for music with musical analysis, it is not (see the Teaching Company for the latter). I enjoyed it. I have left it on my IPOD for its musical qualities (as if it came from iTunes).

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cort Kensington, CA, United States 03-21-09
    cort Kensington, CA, United States 03-21-09 Member Since 2016
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    "Terrible audio but interesting facts"

    Be prepared for a horrible audio experience. The music is espcially bad and a travesty to the genius of Beethoveen. However, the text does contain some interesting facts.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Quintana 07-01-03 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyed every minute"

    True, this doesn't give an indepth account of Beethoven's life, but the production's lively and entertaining--it reminds me of great radio. The Life and Works of Chopin is another great title.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Seattle, WA, United States 08-06-16
    David Seattle, WA, United States 08-06-16
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    "Fine overview of the life, but the music quality is unacceptable."

    Siepmann's text is interesting and objective, and I find his narration pleasant and intelligent. But the musical examples, drawn from the Naxos catalog, and which comprise about half of this audiobook, are terribly distorted. The Naxos recordings are actually quite good, but unfortunately the engineers didn't insert them (or so I guess) correctly here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert G. 06-30-16
    Robert G. 06-30-16
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    "Fascinating bio interlaced thoughtfully with music"

    Fascinating bio of the artist interlaced thoughtfully with all his,major works,of music. Very well executed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Peter Haifa, Israel 09-03-12
    Peter Haifa, Israel 09-03-12
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    "interesting book, but audio quality of the music.."
    Where does The Life and Works of Beethoven rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is really great intention behind this book, but quality of audio in parts of actual music is very low. The story is moderately interesting. There are better books in print about Beethoven, but this definitely one, that you also will enjoy, as a true fan of the composer.
    It will be great, if the same book (books about other composers), but with good quality music will appear in future as part of story. We need more such books, but in higher quality.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alastair Binnie 10-14-04
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    "Functional but uninspired"

    Audio is of course a natural format for a musical biography, and this delivers a competent short biography of the great man (turns out, not as stone deaf as the popular image). But this won't grab you like a novel the way a really good biography should, which is a shame considering he was such an interesting and iconic character. It's a bit dull - somehow I never quite connected with the subject at an emotional or psychological level; but you get the facts - often quite sad -without any sensationalist speculation or idle dallying. The splendid thing is the musical excerpts - I could have done with many more, and more musical analysis. Perhaps they were tacked on as an afterthought for the audio edition.
    For drivetime, only recommended if you a strong pre-existing interest in Ludwig van.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Margaret
    Nieuwerkerk a.d. IJssel, Netherlands
    3/24/09
    Overall
    "the magic of Beethoven"

    This audio book is so easy to listen to and it gives a clear idea of the life of this wonderful composer with its many difficulties. Some of these difficulties were the result of Beethovens inability to say out loud that he was becoming deaf and some were probably rooted in his unhappy childhood. I was left in tears with the last piece of music, Beethoven was right not to be worried about what would happen to his music - it will live forever

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • M. Blythe
    12/14/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mainly music not biography"

    I wanted a biography of the composer. most of this recording is highlights from music, not what I wanted but quite well done if that's what you're after.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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