Chronicling the landmark events in Beethoven's life, this book enhances understanding of the composer's character, inspiring a deeper appreciation for his work. George Alexander Fischer illuminates the composer’s difficult childhood, his struggle to maintain friendships and romances, his ungovernable temper, his obsessive efforts to control his nephew’s life, and the excruciating decline of his hearing. This absorbing narrative provides a comprehensive account of a momentous life, as it takes the reader on a journey from the composer’s birth in Bonn to his death in Vienna.
Here is the story of the tormented, mercurial Ludwig van Beethoven cast against the panorama of the times in which he lived. What emerges is a portrait of a man and an age that adds another dimension to the music that has become part of our heritage.
The masters of music, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, advanced this art beyond the limits of their predecessors by identifying themselves more closely with the development of active life itself. By their creative power they invested the life of the nation and mankind with profounder thought, culminating at last in the most sublime of our possessions—religion. No artist has followed in their course with more determined energy than Richard Wagner, as well he might, for with equal intellectual capacity, the foundation of his education was broader and deeper than that of the classic masters; while on the other hand the development of our national character during his long active career, became more vigorous and diversified as the ideas of the poets and thinkers were more and more realized and reflected in our life. Wagner’s development was as harmonious as that of the three classic masters, and all his struggles, however violent at times, only cleared his way to that high goal where we stand with him today and behold the free unfolding of all our powers. This goal is the entire combination of all the phases of art into one great work: the music-drama, in which is mirrored every form of human existence up to the highest ideal life.
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