Alexandra Coghlan

If we stop idolising Beethoven we might understand him better

Laura Tunbridge’s brisk corrective to the myth of Beethoven the lofty Romantic reveals a shrewd businessman who was not above a little dishonesty

The Beethoven monument in Vienna. Credit: Getty Images

Ludwig von Beethoven belongs among those men whom not only Vienna and Germany, but Europe and our entire age revere. With Mozart and Haydn he makes up the unequalled triumvirate of more recent music. The ingenious depth, the constant originality, the ideal in his compositions that flows from a great soul assure him… of the recognition of every true admirer of the divine Polyhymnia.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Get your first month free when you subscribe. After that it’s just £1 a week for full website and app access. There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.

Offer ends in: ${days} days ${hours} hrs ${minutes} mins ${seconds} secs

Unlock more articles



Flash sale:
10 weeks of unlimited digital access for £1

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Get 10 weeks of online and app access for just £1. That's a saving of more than 80% off the usual rate.

Already a subscriber? Log in