Top 10 popular Beethoven Books (including biographies)

beethoven books Best Beethoven Books: Find a collection of the most popular books on Beethoven covering every aspect of his life and works. Using the composer’s letters, diaries, and conversation books, the authors make the reading even more interesting. These books are the perfect gift for classical music lovers, fans of biographies, and even music teachers and students. These are essential research for serious musicians and composers who wish to gain insight into late Beethoven.

Beethoven Books – The Most Popular Books on Beethoven

If you are interested in reading more about him as well his works, here is a collection of the most popular Beethoven books that sheds light on the landmark events in Beethoven’s career – his competitive encounters with Mozart, creation of his well-known compositions Für Elise and Moonlight Sonata, the composer’s character, and more.

These books cover every aspect of his life and his works; explanations in the form of additional notes and interpretations from the authors are provided in most of these Beethoven books. They weave Beethoven’s musical and biographical stories into their historical and artistic contexts.

Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph (by Jan Swafford)

Revered music historian Jan Swafford is known for his ability to bring his subjects vibrantly to life. This biography peels away layers of the music legend to get to the living, breathing human being who composed some of the world’s most iconic music. Swafford begins with Bonn, where Beethoven grew up, then tracks his move to Vienna, capital of European music, where Beethoven built his career in the face of critical incomprehension, crippling ill health, romantic rejection, and his deafness. Throughout, Swafford offers insightful readings of Beethoven’s key works.

Beethoven: The Man Revealed (by John Suchet)

In this book, Beethoven scholar and classical radio host John Suchet sheds light on the composer’s difficult childhood, his struggle to maintain friendships and romances, his ungovernable temper, his obsessive efforts to control his nephew’s life, and the excruciating decline of his hearing. The book takes the reader on a journey from the composer’s birth in Bonn to his death in Vienna. Suchet even draws on the latest research, using rare source material to paint a complete and vivid portrait of the legendary prodigy.

Beethoven: The Music and the Life (by Lewis Lockwood)

Lewis Lockwood has written a biography of Beethoven in which Beethoven’s methods of working, his interest in contemporary and past composers, the development of his musical intentions and ideals, his inner musical life, in short―have been properly integrated with the external events of his career. A deeply perceptive book that comes as close as can be, to presenting the man and the music as a unity. This book should appeal to specialists and generalists in equal measure. This is a good book for readers who are new to Beethoven’s music, and who are looking to increase their understanding of Beethoven and his major works.

Beethoven (by Maynard Solomon)

Solomon’s interpretations will help non-academics and non-musicologists to better understand Beethoven’s work, takes into account the latest information and literature. This book is more of an interpretation of Beethoven’s life and music rather than a biography; notable as well as controversial for its psychoanalytical approach. Includes a 30-page bibliographical essay, numerous illustrations, and a full-color pictorial biography of the composer. Maynard Solomon is a leading authority on Beethoven.

Beethoven: The Universal Composer (Eminent Lives) (by Edmund Morris)

This is one of the better written short biographies; gives a reasonably comprehensive picture of Beethoven’s life. The author clearly admires his subject not only for the work but also for his constant fight against the odds – his psychosis, alcoholism, chronic rages, famous deafness and increasing illness actually seemed to spur his genius: the greatest works are the later ones. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edmund Morris is one of America’s most distinguished biographers, and has written an ideal biography for the general reader.

Here are some more books on the master composer.

  • Thayer’s Life of Beethoven, Part I:
  • – by Elliot Forbes (Editor)

  • Thayer’s Life of Beethoven – Volume II:
  • – by Elliot Forbes (Editor)
    A must for any Beethoven admirer! Right from Beethoven’s family to the composer’s demise, everything is covered in Thayer’s biography. Recommended, along with Vol. 2! These are more of facts-based books without emphasis on interpretations.

  • The Beethoven Compendium: A Guide to Beethoven’s Life and Music:
  • – by Anne-Louise Coldicott, Nicholas Marston, William Drabkin, and Barry Cooper(Editor)
    This book is well-organized and has a very exhaustive structure. It has everything that you could ever want to know about Beethoven’s life and times.

  • Late Beethoven: Music, Thought, Imagination:
  • – by Maynard Solomon
    Another outstanding book from Maynard Solomon, it focuses on the music of Beethoven’s third period. It takes the readers through the intellectual and emotional changes in Beethoven’s outlook that likely contributed to Beethoven’s late masterworks.

  • Beethoven As I Knew Him (The Norton library):
  • – by Anton Felix
    This is for anyone who would be interested in reading a contemporary account of Beethoven’s life, and the profound effect that he had on at least one of his associates. The author gives plenty of explanations as and when needed throughout the book.

    Audio CD with an accompanying booklet

  • The Life and Works of Beethoven (Classic Literature with Classical Music):
  • – [ABRIDGED] [AUDIOBOOK] (Audio CD) by Jeremy Siepmann (Narrator)
    Audio CD with a thick booklet that offers essays on the historical background, the position of the composer in his time, a look at the major works, a listening plan, recommended readings, personalities, a calendar of the artist’s life, a glossary, a discography and the text of the recording’s narration. This booklet is worth the price of the set alone.

    Also Read: Best of Beethoven music.

    About beethoven

    Beethoven has been one of the most influential and respected composers of all time. The amount of work he has done throughout his life is phenomenal, and his life and works continues to be a part of the study of many music colleges.

    Beethoven is not just restricted to students and intellectuals, his music is very popular and still continues to be used as background score for many movies and television shows.

    Also Read: Beethoven Bio: A Look at the Life of the Master Composer

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