Beethoven: The Man Revealed with John Suchet

Beethoven: The Man Revealed with John Suchet

By Classic FM

Join John Suchet for a landmark series, as he takes us on a journey to discover the real story behind one of the world’s greatest composers. Over 52 episodes, John brings us music by Beethoven that we know and love, alongside rarely heard gems that give us an insight into a classical music icon. Listen and subscribe on Global Player.

Episodes

Episode 15 - Professional Success & Personal Struggle

John describes Beethoven’s diverging fortunes; as his professional life improves and his musical reputation grows in Vienna, his personal life doesn’t see the same level of success. Amongst the music, John plays a rarity from the great composer, entitled “A Good Shoe Shouldn’t Pinch”, written for a singer with whom Beethoven fell in love, and who turned down his marriage proposal describing him as “ugly and half crazy”. John also reveals Beethoven’s growing concerns for his health, including his hearing, and how two visitors from Bonn turn out to be the last thing he needs; his younger brothers arrive to live with him. All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
13/01/2148m 40s

Episode 14 - Rising Star

The 23 year old Beethoven looks for opportunities to perform in front of influential Viennese nobleman, including one who gifted him a horse that Beethoven subsequently forgot was his. We’ll hear music he wrote for the unusual combination of two oboes and cor anglais, and John tells the story of the chaotic build up to the first performance of Beethoven’s first piano concerto – now labelled his Piano Concerto No.2. Having discarded parts of it, he only just had it finished in time – and he found himself beset with health problems; as he walked out onto the stage, his stomach was troubling him, and he was starting to notice that his hearing wasn’t quite right… All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
13/01/211h 2m

Episode 13 - Life in Vienna

John tells more stories of Beethoven’s early life in Vienna, as he took in the sights and sounds of one of Europe’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities. He discovers music that Beethoven was inspired to write by the performances he heard there, including a theme that he would use again later, in a much more well-known piece. John also explores the uneasy relationship between the young composer and his teacher, Joseph Haydn. He explains how Beethoven felt liberated when Haydn left to visit London, and plays music that Beethoven composed during that time; a piece he liked so much, he gave it his first opus number. Haydn didn’t share that opinion, though, and John reveals how his response to Beethoven’s latest work angered the younger man. All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
13/01/2154m 16s

Episode 12 - New Home

Beethoven arrives in Vienna, and John tells us about the attic that Beethoven made his home, reveals what was on his first shopping list on arrival in a new city, and describes the uneasy relationship Beethoven had with Haydn, as he took lessons from the older composer. John will also play some little-heard works that the composer had crammed into his bag for the journey, including an octet for wind instruments. All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
13/01/2146m 1s

Episode 11 - Musical Influences

John examines the three biggest musical influences on Beethoven’s life. The first was Mozart, and he reveals how Beethoven reacted to the death of his great hero. The second was Bach, and so John will play music by Johann Sebastian that Beethoven learned to play as a teenager. Finally, he reveals what led Beethoven to move to Vienna and become a pupil of his third major influence, Joseph Haydn. All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
13/01/2155m 23s

Episode 10 – Composer and Performer

John reveals Beethoven’s extraordinary reaction when one of Germany’s most famous piano virtuosos suggested he might be a “better composer than a performer”; Beethoven proved him wrong. Plus, he continues to play music by the great composer that is rarely heard, as John discovers two unknown drinking songs written by Beethoven, and reveals which piece of music first brought him to the attention of one of the leading composers of the day; Joseph Haydn. All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
23/12/201h 0m

Episode 9 – The Commissions Come In

John focuses on some of the commissions that the young Beethoven received, and the works that he composed as a result. He’ll reveal what Beethoven came up with when faced with both the small, such as his Elegie on the Death of a Poodle, as well as the large; as John plays Beethoven’s Cantata on the Death of an Emperor. John also explores how the latter influenced part of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, and the extraordinary reason why neither piece was performed in his lifetime. All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
23/12/2052m 36s

Episode 8 – Musical Success and Family Drama

John tells the story of the arrival of a wealthy patron in the life of the teenage Beethoven, and discovers why the timing could not have been better. John will play part of a ballet that Beethoven composed under his patron’s name, and reveals why he agreed to it. Then, John describes the moment when the young composer felt forced into ensuring his father was dismissed from his job and plays a joyful piece that Beethoven composed around that time, giving the impression that, despite his family dramas, he didn’t have a care in the world. All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
23/12/2054m 12s

Episode 7 – Beethoven and Mozart

John dedicates this episode to Beethoven’s admiration of another legendary composing name, Mozart. John will play music by Beethoven, that he based entirely on the work of Mozart, including variations on arias from his operas Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute. John tells the story of exactly what happened when the young Beethoven got to meet his musical hero, and reveals why Beethoven turned down Mozart’s offer to take him on as a pupil. All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
23/12/2053m 42s

Episode 6 – Growing Up

John discovers how Beethoven reacted when he was forced to become the main breadwinner in the family after his father committed fraud, and he reveals why the young composer hated teaching music to others, even though it lead to him meeting the first love of his life. John plays one of several pieces Beethoven dedicated to her, as well as a piece he wrote as a teaching aid and the overture to his first - and only - ballet. All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
23/12/2054m 58s

Episode 5 – Musical Youth

John tells more stories of Beethoven’s youth, including the childhood pranks he engaged in, and his unusually musical response to being caught stealing eggs from a henhouse. John will also reveal why Beethoven became a piano teacher at the age of 13, and as well as playing part of one of his best-known piano sonatas, he discovers a Violin Concerto that Beethoven wrote as a teenager, of which only a fragment survives. All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
16/12/201h 1m

Episode 4 – School Days

The precise date of Beethoven’s birth is a mystery to this day, and in this episode John explores the reasons why the composer’s father may have been deliberately trying to disguise his son’s age. He’ll also reveal the truth behind Beethoven’s school days, and why they were so bad, his family were forced to remove him at the age of ten. John plays the music Ludwig was composing around that time too, including his first attempt at a Theme with Variations, and how, as a boy, Beethoven wrote a series of Piano Quartets that he could play alongside adults. All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
16/12/2047m 32s

Episode 3 – Family Ties

Family influences all of us – but what impact did Beethoven’s family play in his young life? John tells the story of how Beethoven’s much-loved grandfather first introduced Ludwig to music, and discovers the piece that he seemed driven to write by grief after losing him. John also explores why the failures of Beethoven’s father led to the boy becoming the main breadwinner when only a teenager, and plays the piece of music that Ludwig composed when he was 13, and already re-writing the musical rules. All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
16/12/2054m 29s

Episode 2 – Musical Promise

John plays music by Beethoven that has its roots in Britain in this episode, including a Scottish folksong that’s almost never heard today. He’ll also reveal what happened when Beethoven’s name was – for the first time – mentioned in the same breath as his great inspiration, Mozart, and tell us about the only paid position that Beethoven ever held; a job that led to his first musical commissions. All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
16/12/2050m 38s

Episode 1 – The Boy Beethoven

In the first episode, John discovers the real meaning behind one of Beethoven’s most famous pieces, Fur Elise, and introduces us to the boy Beethoven, discovering some of his earliest works, including the nine variations on a theme he wrote at the age of eleven, and an unpublished piece he composed as a teen, sometimes known as his Piano Concerto No.0. John also reveals the biggest influence on Beethoven’s childhood; the teacher who recognised the young Ludwig as the genius that he was. All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
16/12/201h 4m

Beethoven: The Man Revealed (Trailer)

Join John Suchet for a landmark series, as he takes us on a journey to discover the real story behind one of the world’s greatest composers. Over 52 episodes, John brings us music by Beethoven that we know and love, alongside rarely heard gems that give us an insight into a classical music icon. All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.
09/12/2051s
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