A major new biography published for the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, offering a fresh, human portrayal “Illuminating. . . . Tunbridge’s pithy A Life in Nine Pieces is different and welcome: a biography presented through the focus of nine different compositions.”—Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian
“Rewarding. . . . A lot of information is packed into her musical portraits.”—Richard Fairman, Financial Times
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.
At its height in 1944, the Esterwegen concentration camp housed over two thousand political prisoners from occupied Europe. Among them was a small band of Belgian Freemasons who, by chance or providence, found themselves assigned to the same barrack. In the midst of these terrible conditions, they came together to form the secret Masonic Lodge Liberté chérie. Years of painstaking research and translation have yielded, for the first time, a comprehensive telling of these events for English readers. It is a story that transcends personal differences and the borders of Masonic jurisdiction. This camaraderie and compassion laid the foundation for the most important work in the history of the world's oldest Fraternity.