From the “more things change, the more things stay the same,” whose life do you think this describes?
….she is particularly sharp-eyed, and refreshing, on the practicalities that shape any artist’s life. How to make a living is a priority. “Reference is made throughout this book to the sums [deleted] earned,” reads the first introductory note. “He was strapped for cash,” she observes baldly, in those or similar words, more than once. How to find a venue, how to get a score published, how many rehearsals can be squeezed in (usually only one, leading to some disastrous premieres), how much tickets should cost, how to wheedle rich sponsors into donating, how to deal with the uncomfortable business of self-promotion: all make the difference between food on the table or hunger, performance or silence. Ask any composer working today. The issues have not changed.
This is from a review in The Guardian of Laura Tumbridge’s Beethoven: A Life in Nine Pieces.
If you are interested, the reviewer, Fiona Maddocks, enjoyed the book which focuses on the composer through the lens of nine of his works. As a result, the book is a relatively short 288 pages.
It may be a good candidate as an introductory book for people who might be simultaneously interested and intimidated by the prospect of learning about classical music and composers. It appears Tumbridge really humanizes Beethoven, discussing the complaints neighbors had about loud music and shouting coming from his apartment as well as the composer’s resentment that Napoleon’s invasion of Vienna was putting a cramp on the city’s party scene. Not to mention that French occupation of Vienna apparently suppressed attendance of an early version of his opera, Fidelio.
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