Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Beethoven's Hair....

As a lover of music, and an admirer of Beethoven's, I stumbled upon this book at a CCBC conference last year and made myself promise to read it. If you like detective non-fiction, are a lover of music, or just enjoy a good biography then this book is right up your alley. It combines all of these elements and the ending really surprised me and prompted me to read more books on the subject.
While it is fairly common knowledge that Beethoven struggled with illness all of his life, scientists dissect the only known piece of Beethoven left--a lock of hair--to try and determine what was the cause of his unknown ailment.
The Milwaukee symphony recently conquered Beethoven's ninth symphony which received rave reviews from New Yorker magazine. If you were able to go, I'm supremely jealous, as I meant to and was stuck writing my Master's thesis (har, har)while you were able to bask in the glory that is "the Ode to Joy" chorus. Is there a piece of music that captures the dignity of the human spirit more than that piece?
I did a study abroad in Austria when I was in college, and everywhere I went (particularly in Vienna), I'd come across bits and pieces of Beethoven gossip, history and ephemera so he'll always hold a certain personal meaning to me as I could hardly escape his presence. Beethoven, after hundreds of years, still captures our hearts and minds.....which is why you should read this wonderful little book dedicated to discovering the truth behind the man's mysterious ways.

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