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The Resource Beethoven : the universal composer, Edmund Morris

Beethoven : the universal composer, Edmund Morris

Label
Beethoven : the universal composer
Title
Beethoven
Title remainder
the universal composer
Statement of responsibility
Edmund Morris
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Member of
Writing style
Review
  • Adult/High School –This concise, well-organized biography by an eminent music scholar is just the right length and depth for teen readers. Most readers already know that Beethoven was deaf by the time his famous Ninth Symphony was performed, but Morris fills in the fascinating details of how the composer, who began to lose his hearing in his late 20s, developed strategies to continue writing music and to keep his ever-increasing audience from learning his secret. Students who are compelled to practice their music lessons will sympathize with Beethoven’s unhappy life as a child prodigy, when he was allowed to raise his exhausted fingers from the clavier keyboard only when it was time for him to take up the violin. Having lived a childhood of straitened circumstances, he became extravagant and frequently fell into debt as an adult. To keep a supply of ready money, he frequently sold “almost completed” pieces that he had not even started to multiple wealthy patrons. He attracted eager young ladies, but his shyness prevented him from forming any attachments except for emotional bonds with married women. Morris has interwoven Beethoven’s life story with lyrical passages about the sounds and structures of his major works. These descriptions help show how he used the techniques developed by past masters, while introducing the innovations that would be further developed by composers over the next hundred years.–Kathy Tewell, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA --Kathy Tewell (Reviewed March 1, 2006) (School Library Journal, vol 52, issue 3, p258)
  • This addition to the Eminent Lives Series by Pulitzer-winning biographer Morris (Theodore Rex ; Dutch ) does not disappoint. The author provides a close analysis of only one cantata, the early (written at 19) and relatively obscure Joseph II , but leaves no doubt he could easily do the same for the more radical and magisterial works, which are "bothersome to orthodox opinion" about Beethoven's time, were the ground not so well trodden. Outsize in talent, Beethoven was a difficult, ugly little man, uncomfortable with women (Immortal Beloved and a certain amount of "groupie" attention notwithstanding, he seems never to have had a successful romantic relationship), snobbish and a raving egotist. His seven-year legal battle with his sister-in-law over custody of her son assumed "manic proportions" and set him "drifting toward paranoia." Yet not only did his prodigious productivity never falter, his psychosis, alcoholism, chronic rages, famous deafness and increasing illness ("dropsy"—edema—cirrhosis and possibly lupus killed him at 56) actually seemed to spur his genius: the greatest works are the later ones. Morris clearly admires his subject not only for the work but also for his constant fight against the odds, and he has written an ideal biography for the general reader. (Oct. 4) --Staff (Reviewed August 1, 2005) (Publishers Weekly, vol 252, issue 30, p58)
  • For more than 175 years, Ludwig van Beethoven has had an enormous following among the general public. Yet nearly all of the numerous books written about him address fans with highly developed musical skills and/or substantive knowledge of technical details. Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Morris (Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan ; Theodore Rex ) redresses the balance, targeting readers who are not necessarily musically literate but are familiar with Beethoven's works and eager to know about the genius who created them. Biographical aspects of the composer's life—e.g., his experiences in the unstable setting of early 18th-century Europe—are explored from an emotional perspective: Morris does not hesitate to interject his own personal feelings of admiration and sympathy for his subject. For those who want more musical detail, Maynard Solomon's Beethoven or Lewis Lockwood's Beethoven: The Music and the Life would be a better choice; however, for the long-overlooked general audience, this is an eminently readable and highly accurate account. Recommended for public and academic libraries.—Timothy J. McGee, Hastings, Ont. --Timothy J. McGee (Reviewed August 15, 2005) (Library Journal, vol 130, issue 13, p88)
  • Supreme talent facilitated Beethoven's staggering achievement, but it was his genius for transforming his peculiar torment into art that ensured masterpieces. A Jeckyll-and-Hyde of the sacred and profane, Beethoven bellows the angelic "Ode to Joy" of his Ninth Symphony while kicking the chamber pot parked under his piano. He derides his chief patron, "Lobkowitz is a donkey!" and gushes, in love letters, over his "Immortal Beloved," a friend's wife. He idolizes, then demonizes, Napoleon (the Beethoven of politics), and steals his dead brother's son to raise as his pet. By now, of course, the man has become pure myth: the Nietzschean shadow over A Clockwork Orange and the house brand of classical radio. Morris (Theodore Rex, 2002, etc.) carefully refreshes the story. An accomplished pianist, he's especially good at technical analysis. But the tale is ultimately one of personal crises provoking aesthetic breakthroughs: Beethoven avenging himself for his father's knuckle-rapping keyboard tutelage by becoming one of history's greatest pianists; repairing a heart broken by penning the "Moonlight" sonata; overcoming his mathematical illiteracy to cannily bargain for commissions; listening more deeply to his muse while deafness descends. Beethoven's signature curses, Morris holds, were two: loneliness and sickness. And certainly his headaches, rheumatism, ulcerative colitis and speculative retroactive diagnoses of psychosis and Lupus Erythematosus confirm that the five-foot-six titan suffered greatly. Struggling for transcendence, then, meant not only the identification with Eastern philosophy that Morris points out, but Beethoven's commitment to the rapture of music. In the end, character is destiny, the author argues: Tremendous pain yields tremendous gain. An astute introduction to the life of music's most Promethean composer, an embodied storm, a human cymbal crash. (Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2005)
Biography type
individual biography
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
184895
Cataloging source
TEF
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Morris, Edmund
Illustrations
portraits
Index
no index present
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Series statement
Eminent lives
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Beethoven, Ludwig van
  • Composers
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
the universal composer
Label
Beethoven : the universal composer, Edmund Morris
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 241-243)
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
513872
Dimensions
19 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
243 pages
Isbn
9780060759742
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other control number
9780060759742
Other physical details
portrait
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780060759742
  • (Sirsi) ADS-6121
Label
Beethoven : the universal composer, Edmund Morris
Publication
Copyright
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 241-243)
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
513872
Dimensions
19 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
243 pages
Isbn
9780060759742
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other control number
9780060759742
Other physical details
portrait
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780060759742
  • (Sirsi) ADS-6121

Library Locations

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      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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