Hardcover(First Edition)

Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


The authoritative Beethoven biography, endorsed by and produced in close collaboration with the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, is timed for the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth.

With unprecedented access to the archives at the Beethoven House in Bonn, renowned Beethoven conductor and scholar Jan Caeyers expertly weaves together a deeply human and complex image of Beethoven—his troubled youth, his unpredictable mood swings, his desires, relationships, and conflicts with family and friends, the mysteries surrounding his affair with the “immortal beloved,” and the dramatic tale of his deafness. Caeyers also offers new insights into Beethoven’s music and its gradual transformation from the work of a skilled craftsman into that of a consummate artist.

Demonstrating an impressive command of the vast scholarship on this iconic composer, Caeyers brings Beethoven’s world alive with elegant prose, memorable musical descriptions, and vivid depictions of Bonn and Vienna—the cities where Beethoven produced and performed his works. Caeyers explores how Beethoven’s career was impacted by the historical and philosophical shifts taking place in the music world, and conversely, how his own trajectory changed the course of the music industry. Equal parts absorbing cultural history and lively biography, Beethoven, A Life paints a complex portrait of the musical genius who redefined the musical style of his day and went on to become one of the great pillars of Western art music.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520343542
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 09/08/2020
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 680
Sales rank: 80,717
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Jan Caeyers is a conductor and musicologist. One of Europe’s preeminent experts on Beethoven, he is the music director of the Beethoven orchestra Le Concert Olympique and a member of the Department of Musicology at KU Leuven.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Daniel Hope

Part One: The Artist as a Young Man (1770–1792)
1 • Louis van Beethoven: A Grandfather Figure
2 • Jean van Beethoven: The Absent Father?
3 • The Early Years
4 • Christian Gottlob Neefe: The Mentor
5 • The Young Professional
6 • Bonn Turns to Vienna
7 • Beethoven’s First Crisis
8 • A Second Home, and New Horizons
9 • Renewed Vigor and the First Major Works
10 • Farewell to Bonn

Part Two: A Time of Proving (1792–1802)
11 • Vienna in 1792
12 • Beethoven’s First Patron: Karl von Lichnowsky 
13 • Haydn and Albrechtsberger
14 • Career Plans
15 • Family, Friends, and Loves in Vienna
16 • In Anticipation of Greater Things
17 • Lobkowitz’s “Center of Excellence”
18 • The Immortal Beloved: Episode One
19 • The Road to a Broader Public
20 • A Word from the Critics
21 • The Disciples: Carl Czerny and Ferdinand Ries
22 • The Heiligenstadt Testament

Part Three: The Master (1802–1809)
23 • A “New Way” Forward
24 • The Laboratorium Artificiosum 
25 • Publishing Pains and the “Warehouse of the Arts”
26 • Composer in Residence
27 • Salieri’s Opera Lessons 
28 • The Mystery of the Eroica
29 • The Immortal Beloved: Episode Two
30 • In Search of the Perfect Piano
31 • Leonore: A Work in Progress
32 • The Golden Years

Part Four: Crowds and Power (1809–1816)
33 • A New Social Status
34 • New Prospects
35 • An Imperial Pupil
36 • Beethoven and Goethe
37 • The Immortal Beloved: Episode Three
38 • Se non è vero . . .
39 • The End of the Classical Symphony
40 • Music for the Masses
41 • A Lucrative Sideline
42 • From Leonore to Fidelio
43 • From Coffee and Cake to Congress and Kitsch
44 • The Fight for a Child
45 • From the “Immortal Beloved” to a “Distant Beloved”

Part Five: The Lonely Way (1816–1827)
46 • Longing for Greater Things
47 • Post-Congress Vienna
48 • London Plans
49 • A Faustian Sonata and a Diabolical Contraption
50 • The Missa solemnis: A Mass for Peace
51 • The Circle Is Complete: The Late Piano Works
52 • Estrangement
53 • Encounters with the Younger Generation
54 • An Ode to Joy
55 • Decline
56 • Karl’s Emancipation
57 • Money Matters
58 • The Discovery of Heaven: The Late String Quartets
59 • Comoedia finita est

Illustration Credits
Index of Works
Index of People

Customer Reviews