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A Life in Nine Pieces

Laura Tunbridge

View Inside Format: Hardcover
Price: $35.00
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A major new biography published for the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, offering a fresh, human portrayal
The iconic image of Beethoven is of him as a lone genius: hair wild, fists clenched, and brow furrowed. Beethoven may well have shaped the music of the future, but he was also a product of his time, influenced by the people, politics, and culture around him. Oxford scholar Laura Tunbridge offers an alternative history of Beethoven’s career, placing his music in contexts that shed light on why particular pieces are valued more than others, and what this tells us about his larger-than-life reputation. Each chapter focuses on a period of his life, a piece of music, and a revealing theme, from family to friends, from heroism to liberty. We discover, along the way, Beethoven’s unusual marketing strategies, his ambitious concert programming, and how specific performers and instruments influenced his works. This book offers new ways to understand Beethoven and why his music continues to be valued today.

Laura Tunbridge is Professor of Music at the University of Oxford. She is the author of three monographs—Schumann’s Late Style, The Song Cycle, and Singing in the Age of Anxiety—and the recipient of a three-year Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust for a project on string quartets.

“Laura Tunbridge pursues her subject with consistently perceptive critical acumen.”—Kenneth Stilwell, Nineteenth-Century Music Review

“We are doubly blessed that Beethoven should have led such an extraordinary life. Laura has combined the two—the genius of his music and the richness of his experiences—to shine a revealing light on our greatest composer.”—John Humphrys, broadcaster

“In a year when everyone's looking for a new take on Beethoven, Laura Tunbridge has found nine. It makes great sense to look at the composer not thematically but in selected fragments, taking us nine small steps closer to his elusive totality. Fresh and engaging.”—Norman Lebrecht, author of Genius and Anxiety

“Tunbridge has come up with the seemingly impossible: a new way of approaching Beethoven's life and music…and in every chapter a superb—and accessible to non-musicians—analysis of the music…. [P]rofoundly original and hugely readable.”—John Suchet, author Beethoven: The Man Revealed

“Remarkable…. [Tunbridge] captures the essence of his genius and character. I'll always want to keep it in easy reach.”—Julia Boyd, author of Travellers in the Third Reich
ISBN: 9780300254587
Publication Date: October 26, 2020
288 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
25 b/w illus.

Sales Restrictions: For sale in the United States, its dependencies, and the Philippines only