These are the personal memories of an elderly man who, as a child, was closely acquainted with Beethoven. Gerhard von Breuning, the son of one of Beethoven's oldest friends, was a favourite of the ageing composer, who delighted in the boy's frequent visits. This firsthand account provides us with telling details about Beethoven's daily life, his personality, and his relationships with family and friends. It is as a clear-eyed witness of Beethoven's final illness that Breuning is particularly compelling, providing graphic reports on the atmosphere of the sickroom, the course of the medical treatment and Beethoven's death throes after he despaired both of his doctor and of his life and, muttering 'Oh, that ass!', turned his face to the wall. This is an English translation of a fascinating document. The Beethoven scholar, Maynard Solomon, has provided many explanatory notes as well as a full and informative introduction. A permanent contribution to the Beethoven literature, this book provides a sensitive and unique insight into the life of the composer during his later years.
'Indispensable and reliable source for Beethoven scholarship.' The Strad 'Rich in pathos and novelistic detail ... the memoir covers the last year of Beethoven's life and it truly is a gem.' Financial Times ' ... one of the most candid memoirs of the Master'. BBC Music 'This good translation, wisely annotated and well-illustrated, brings us close to Beethoven the man, seen through the boy's keen eyes.' The Observer 'Breuning is full of little personal touches. ... It is in his self-portraits as much as his picture of the composer that Breuning is so touching.' The Guardian