In 1812, Ludwig van Beethoven wrote three letters to an unnamed woman, whom he called "Immortal Beloved." The letters were discovered after Beethoven's death and ever since their discovery, there has been speculation regarding whom that Immortal Beloved might have been. In Beethoven's Immortal Beloved: Solving the Mystery, Edward Walden carefully and meticulously presents his case that the woman who Beethoven loved was Bettina Brentano, an artistic and talented musician in her own right.
Setting the foundation for his argument, Walden begins the book with a general historical and sequential narrative that interweaves the lives of the three principle protagonists: Beethoven, the writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Bettina Brentano. Walden explores in detail the key elements of the factual narrative and shows how those elements support his claim that Bettina was the Immortal Beloved. In addition, Walden addresses the attacks other Beethoven scholars have made against Bettina and reveals how such attacks were mistaken or unjustified.
Thoroughly and rigorously researched, yet presented in a clear and engaging style, Beethoven's Immortal Beloved will appeal to Beethoven scholars, music lovers, and general readers alike, who will be captivated by the solving of this fascinating mystery.
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Edward Walden is a retired lawyer currently residing in Ontario, Canada. He has previously written articles on the Immortal Beloved for The Beethoven Journal.From Publishers Weekly:
While Beethoven poured his heart into a host of emotionally tortured compositions, "he did so just twice through the medium of written words." Readers of Walden's first effort who are not themselves Beethoven scholars may find themselves murmuring, "Thank God." Driven by an apparently insatiable need to convince his readers of the identity of the composer's 'immortal beloved,' Walden is firmly in the "Bettina Brentano" camp and sniffs condescendingly at the recent "ascendency of the "Anti-Bettina camp" spawning a new generation of Bettina scholars "trained...to disbelieve...almost everything that Bettina wrote or did." Walden's lifelong profession (he's a retired lawyer) has perhaps colored his ability to write clean and persuasive prose without adding clunky organizational devices like a "Summary of Crucial Evidence" or "Synopsis & Conclusion." If the material wasn't so dry, it might be amusing. This is a book that only a scholar could love. (Feb.)
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