21 Dec, 2017 780 Music

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the great composers, who was born into a family of musicians in Bonn. His grandfather was an eminent musician and also called Ludwig van Beethoven. His father, who was not as talented as Beethoven’s grandfather, drank heavily and died when Beethoven was still young. It was his move to Vienna that allowed him to flourish, with the support at first of aristocratic patrons, when that city was the hub of European music. He is credited with developing the symphony further than any who preceded him, with elevating instrumental above choral music and with transforming music to the highest form of art. He composed his celebrated works while, from his late twenties onwards, becoming increasingly deaf.

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  • Laura Tunbridge No other episodes
    Professor of Music and Henfrey Fellow, St Catherine's College, University of Oxford
  • John Deathridge 3 episodes
    Emeritus King Edward Professor of Music at King's College London
  • Erica Buurman No other episodes
    Senior Lecturer in Music, Canterbury Christchurch University

Reading list

  • Theodor W. Adorno
    Beethoven: The Philosophy of Music (Polity Press, 2002) (Polity Press, 2002)
  • Daniel K.L. Chua
    Beethoven and Freedom (Oxford University Press, 2017) (Oxford University Press, 2017)
  • Peter Clive
    Beethoven and his World: A Biographical Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 2001) (Oxford University Press, 2001)
  • Alessandra Comini
    The Changing Image of Beethoven (Rizzoli, 1987) (Rizzoli, 1987)
  • Barry Cooper
    Beethoven (Oxford University Press, 2008) (Oxford University Press, 2008)
  • Martin Cooper
    Beethoven: The Last Decade 1817-1827 (Oxford University Press, 1977) (Oxford University Press, 1977)
  • Elliot Forbes (ed.)
    Thayer's Life of Beethoven, 2 vols. (first published 1964; Princeton University Press, 1991) (Princeton University Press, 1991)
  • William Kinderman
    Beethoven (Oxford University Press, 2009) (Oxford University Press, 2009)
  • Lewis Lockwood
    Beethoven: The Music and the Life (W. W. Norton, 2005) (W. W. Norton, 2005)
  • Lewis Lockwood
    Beethoven's Symphonies: An Artistic Vision (W. W. Norton, 2015) (W. W. Norton, 2015)
  • Nicholas Mathew
    Political Beethoven (Cambridge University Press, 2013) (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  • Alexander Rehding
    Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (Oxford University Press, 2017) (Oxford University Press, 2017)
  • Maynard Solomon
    Beethoven (Schirmer Trade Books, 2001) (Schirmer Trade Books, 2001)
  • Jan Swafford
    Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph (Faber & Faber, 2014) (Faber & Faber, 2014)
  • David Wyn Jones
    The Life of Beethoven (Cambridge University Press, 1998) (Cambridge University Press, 1998)

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the greatest composers is often considered the greatest, a defining figure in western classical music.