by Martin Geck and Peter Sheppard Skaerved

‘Exquisitely produced … this short biography eschews meaningless psychobabble in favour of an excellent overview of the musician’s life and times interspersed with short but incisive discussions of some of the major works. Particularly interesting is Geck’s concentration on his subject as a working composer rather than a genius who floated entirely aloof from quotidian concerns.’
The Guardian

‘A little gem: a sure-footed, finely drawn portrait.’
Peter Gülk, Das Orchester


Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the legendary figures of world culture. But who is the man behind that legend? Martin Geck offers a vivid portrait of a difficult but fascinating man with a tangled and still controversial love life. This is an expert introduction to a self-styled cultural hero, presented warts, genius and all.

MARTIN GECK is the founding editor of the collected works of Richard Wagner and has written several books on the great composers, including the critically acclaimed Bach: A Life and Work. He is also the author of Bach in the Life&Times series.

PETER SHEPPARD SKÆRVED is the leader of the Kreutzer Quartert and Research Fellow at the Royal Academy of Music, specialising in the study of Beethoven. He has recorded the complete Beethoven repertoire for piano and violin.

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