Read Beethoven: The Universal Composer (Eminent Lives) by Edmund Morris Free Online
Book Title: Beethoven: The Universal Composer (Eminent Lives)|
The author of the book: Edmund Morris
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Reader ratings: 3.4
Date of issue: 2007
ISBN 13: 9780007213702
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 551 KB
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Edmund Morris' three-volume work on Theodore Roosevelt is, in my view, one of the very great works of biography ever written. So I was happy to stumble across this biography of Beethoven in a used book store. I opened it as I was reading Alejo Carpentier's 'The Chase' which deals with the Eroica symphony. And I couldn't put it down.
Now, this is a life story I already knew fairly well; and there's nothing new in this rendering, although Morris writes with authority on such controversies as exist. What I did not know is that Morris is a "private scholar of music" and a trained classical pianist. So I read this mainly for Morris' insights into the music. Real musicians might find fault with his interpretation, but it read like a sublime gibberish to my untrained ear.
A dominant seventh's desire to resolve onto the tonic is the most powerful force in Western music: to prevent it from doing so amounts to coitus interruptus.
Yes, I forgot to mention that Morris can be smugly glib, and more so here than in his larger works. I mean, he dismisses Mahler with one word: masturbatory. But, really, I offer in Mahler's defense, aren't we all?
I like to listen to the music when reading a book about music. What I found though, if this helps understand the hurried lightness of the book, is that I would put on a piece, say the Second Razumovsky String Quartet, and before the first movement was half-way through, Morris would be talking about Moonlight Sonata and I'd have to get up and change the CD.
But now that I've finished the book I can go at my own unhurried pace, enjoying the string trios as I write this.
Timeless music, but not a timeless book.
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Edmund Morris (1804-1874)
Edmund Morris, actor, playwright, author of screenplays
Edmund Morris is a writer best known for his biographies of United States presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. Morris received his early education in Kenya after which he attended Rhodes University in South Africa. He worked as an advertising copywriter in London before emigrating to the United States in 1968.
His biography The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award in 1980. After spending 14 years as President Reagan's authorized biographer, he published the national bestseller Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan in 1999.
Morris's other books include Theodore Rex, the second in a projected three-volume chronicle of the life of Theodore Roosevelt, and Beethoven: The Universal Composer. Mr. Morris has also written extensively on travel and the arts for such publications as The New Yorker, the New York Times, and Harper's Magazine.
Edmund Morris lives in New York City and Kent, Connecticut with his wife and fellow biographer, Sylvia Jukes Morris.
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