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Ludwig van Beethoven, born — well, that is the first problem we have, we cannot be entirely sure what day Beethoven was born on. That is the first of many surprises that John Suchet will bring you, as he presents ‘Beethoven — The Man Revealed’, an intimate portrait of the man he believes to be the greatest composer of them all.
This year, 2020, is the year that sees Beethoven celebrated around the world, as we mark the 250th anniversary of his birth. We may not know for certain the day on which he was born, but we know that it was in mid-December 1770. This year his music will be heard more often, in more detail, and in more varied forms, than ever before. Complete cycles of his symphonies, piano concertos, string quartets, piano sonatas, and many other works, will be heard throughout the UK and beyond. And with the advances in technology and social media, his music will reach a greater audience than at any time hitherto.
But what of the man behind the music? Ah yes, he’s the one who went deaf. If there is one fact about Beethoven that most people will know, it is that. But John will delve behind the public image of the permanently angry man struggling to hear his own music. John will reveal a Beethoven you did not know before — a complex character who could burst into a fit of anger one moment, and reveal a tender soul the next. And that is true of his music — some of the most turbulent music ever written, but also some of the gentlest.
Of Beethoven it is more true than of any other composer, that if you know what is going on in his life, you listen to his music with new ears. John, in his 10th year as presenter of Classic FM’s flagship morning programme, is a recognised authority on the life and music of Beethoven, with six books published, and a seventh — a special anniversary edition of ‘Beethoven: The Man Revealed’ being published in September 2020.
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