Author(s): Jan Swafford
Jan Swafford's biographies of Charles Ives and Johannes Brahms 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. At the time of his death he was so widely celebrated that over ten thousand people attended his funeral. This book is a biography of Beethoven the man and musician, not the myth, and throughout, Swafford - himself a composer - offers insightful readings of Beethoven's key works. More than a decade in the making, this will be the standard Beethoven biography for years to come.
A fascinating celebration of one of the most important classical composers, and one of the most enduringly popular.
Jan Swafford (born 1946) is a writer and broadcaster, and the award-winning author of biographies of Charles Ives and Johannes Brahms, as well as the Vintage Guide to Classical Music. He is also a composer, and teaches composition, theory and music history at The Boston Conservatory. He studied at Harvard and the Yale School of Music.