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The Life and Works of Beethoven.

Jeremy Siepmann. 2001. Narrated by the author with various additional readers. 4 tapes, 5 hrs. Naxos Audiobooks. 9-62634-715-5. $17.98. Cardboard, plastic; content, author notes. JSA

This little package intersperses Beethoven's own writings and writings of his contemporaries with excerpts from his music. The engrossing personal vignettes provide a good flavor of what the great composer's life might have been like: six-year-old Beethoven crying while practicing the piano under the rigorous discipline of his abusive, alcoholic father; stories of the many unavailable women he fell in love with in his ultimately unsuccessful quest for a wife; comments about his tragic deafness; as well as a picture of a man with enormous energy who was often happy, always appreciated for his talents, and who, sadly, became more deaf and socially isolated as he aged.

Siepmann reads the quotes, along with five other narrators, both male and female, in dramatic, theatrical tones. This excellent narration, along with the well-chosen material, gives a good picture of Beethoven's enormous energy and vision, and how this was translated into his music. At the same time, there are generous excerpts from the wonderful music itself. Susan Offner, Teacher, Lexington H.S., Lexington, MA
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Author:Offner, Susan
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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