‘The greatest artists repay a lifetime of study. Now Norman Lebrecht has given us a lambent summing up of his adventures with Beethoven, deeply personal yet grounded in music that we know and love, inspiring readers to offer their own answers to the question “Why Beethoven?”’
A Phenomenon in 100 PiecesNorman Lebrecht
Without Beethoven, music as we know it wouldn’t exist.
There’d be no Wagner, Verdi, Mahler, Nina Simone, Michael Jackson, down to cello-playing Ed Sheeran. Norman Lebrecht asks: why? Who was this titan of world culture? In 100 recordings, freely available on Idagio and YouTube, Lebrecht brings to life the composer as we’ve never seen him before. Unruly, offensive and hopeless in his housekeeping, yes, but driven to a fault and devoted to his art: conquering deafness to pen the Missa Solemnis.
Along the way, we encounter Beethoven’s performers across the centuries, in their glories and in their foibles. In this salacious and salutary biography, Beethoven emerges as the cornerstone of the world as we know it.
‘Riveting, gossipy, action-packed.’
‘Norman Lebrecht has a rare ability to evoke the past with the immediacy of a good journalist, broadcaster, novelist or blogger.’