Beethoven Variations: Poems On A Life
Ruth Padel’s new sequence of poems, in four movements, is a personal voyage through the life and legend of one of the world’s greatest composers. She uncovers the man behind the music, charting his private thoughts and feelings through letters, diaries, sketchbooks, and the conversation books he used as his hearing declined. Padel’s quest takes her into the heart of Europe and back to her own musical childhood: Her great-grandfather, who studied in Leipzig with a pupil of Beethoven’s, became a concert pianist before migrating to Britain; her parents met making music; and Padel grew up playing the viola, Beethoven’s instrument as a child. Her book is a poet and string player’s intimate connection across the centuries.
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