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Why Beethoven: A Phenomenon in One Hundred Pieces, Lebrecht

Why Beethoven: A Phenomenon in One Hundred Pieces, Lebrecht

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Author: Norman Lebrecht 
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages 
Publisher: Pegasus Books (2023) 
ISBN: 9781639364114 

Without Beethoven, music as we know it wouldn’t exist. By examining one hundred of his compositions, a portrait emerges of the man behind the music. 

Lebrecht has immersed himself in the rich catalogue of Beethoven recordings and presents a unique picture of the man through his music. He selects the best recordings of one hundred key pieces, showing the composer as we’ve never seen him before. Unruly, offensive and hopeless in so much of his life, yet driven to a fault and devoted to his art, conquering deafness to pen masterpieces. 

Norman Lebrecht has been grappling with this icon at the heart of music for his entire life.  Who was the irascible, unpredictable, warped genius who stretched what music could do to the breaking point? In this unique examination, Lebrecht attempts to understand the power of this man through his compositions, the history of who has performed them and what it has meant to successive generations of audiences. In turn a detective story (we learn who Elise of “Fur Elise” is for the first time) and a confession, Why Beethoven aims to rise to the challenge of how to encompass the relentless energy of this singular genius.  

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