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Random House UK Adult Spring 2020

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    For sale with exclusive rights in: CA Not for sale in: AD AE AF AG AI AL AM AO AQ AR AS AT AU AW AX AZ BA BB BD BE BF BG BH BI BJ BL BM BN BO BQ BR BS BT BV BW BY BZ CC CD CF CG CH CI CK CL CM CN CO CR CU CV CW CX CY CZ DE DJ DK DM DO DZ EC EE EG EH ER ES ET FI FJ FK FM FO FR GA GB GD GE GF GG GH GI GL GM GN GP GQ GR GS GT GU GW GY HK HM HN HR HT HU ID IE IL IM IN IO IQ IR IS IT JE JM JO JP KE KG KH KI KM KN KP KR KW KY KZ LA LB LC LI LK LR LS LT LU LV LY MA MC MD ME MF MG MH MK ML MM MN MO MP MQ MR MS MT MU MV MW MX MY MZ NA NC NE NF NG NI NL NO NP NR NU NZ OM PA PE PF PG PH PK PL PM PN PR PS PT PW PY QA RE RO RS RU RW SA SB SC SD SE SG SH SI SJ SK SL SM SN SO SR SS ST SV SX SY SZ TC TD TF TG TH TJ TK TL TM TN TO TR TT TV TW TZ UA UG UM US UY UZ VA VC VE VG VI VN VU WF WS YE YT ZA ZM ZW
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    Distributor: Penguin Random House Availability: Available On Sale Date:Mar 17, 2020 Carton Quantity:64
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Beethoven Variations
Poems on a Life
By (author): Ruth Padel
9781784742515 Hardcover English General Trade POETRY / Subjects & Themes / General Mar 17, 2020
$31.99 CAD
Active 5.3 x 8.4 x 0.5 in | 0.34 lb 144 pages Random House Canada UK Distribution Chatto & Windus
A fascinating poetic journey into the mind and heart of a musical genius, from the author of the celebrated Darwin: A Life in Poems

Ruth Padel's new sequence of poems, in four movements, is a personal voyage through the life and legend of one of the world's greatest composers. She uncovers the man behind the music, charting his private thoughts and feelings through letters, diaries, sketchbooks, and the conversation books he used as his hearing declined. She gives us Beethoven as a battered four-year-old, weeping at the clavier; the young virtuoso pianist agonized by his encroaching deafness; the passionate, heartbroken lover; the clumsy eccentric making coffee with exactly sixty beans. Padel's quest takes her into the heart of Europe and back to her own musical childhood: Her great-grandfather, who studied in Leipzig with a pupil of Beethoven's, became a concert pianist before migrating to Britain; her parents met making music; and Padel grew up playing the viola, Beethoven's instrument as a child. Her book is a poet and string player's intimate connection across the centuries with an artist who, though increasingly isolated, ended even his most harrowing works on a note of hope.

Ruth Padel is a prize-winning poet, author of twelve acclaimed poetry collections and prose works including much-loved books on reading contemporary poetry, a travel-memoir on wild tiger conservation, and a study of the influence of Greek myth on rock music. Awards include a British Council Darwin Now Award, a Travel Bursary and Cholmondley Award from The Society of Authors, and First Prize in the National Poetry Competition. She is Professor of Poetry at King’s College London and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

“Two lives drawn beneath the lens, the composer’s and her own, interacting in ways that can be bold and, finally, breathtaking. On the Eroica Padel is spectacular. The composer is ‘fire-dust, gold-flight / winching upwards into pure light’ as he drives ‘forward into a new-world dawn / thrilling with dissonance, calling up wild-steel angels.’” –Paul Griffiths, Times Literary Supplement

“With a conversational intimacy, much like the composer’s chamber works, it is the orchestration of one life through the prism of another, structured around Padel’s expansive empathy. Padel’s light touch recharges the reader’s perception of the unfolding drama of the composer’s life.”Los Angeles Review of Books

“How to uncover from biographical details the mystery that is music? With precision, heart-breaking beauty and lyric insight, Ruth Padel performs a miracle: Beethoven comes alive before us, the son of a drunk, who became a genius, and lost everything, and found his way back to the center. And here we are, following Padel's own genius for composing the music of a story via lyrical means. You will find your heart shored up / by meeting the trapped brilliance of his eyes, she writes. Indeed.” —Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic

“Poetry, biography, music and memoir collide in this wonderful collection, a tender and evocative portrait of the man and his music” –Francesca Carington, Tatler (Best Books of 2020)

“Beethoven’s music encompasses the entire blinding spectrum of human thought and emotion, from violent to ethereal, from chaos to sublimity. Ruth Padel’s poems encompass that uncontainable spirit to an astounding degree, and preserve the primal shock of our first hearing.” —Alex Ross, author of The Rest is Noise, music critic of The New Yorker

“Profound reflections on Beethoven’s life and music.” --Catholic New York

“What a wonderful and unusual idea. Ruth Padel writes with true passion; her love for, and understanding of, the man and his music shine through each poem.” —Steven Isserlis, cellist

Beethoven Variations is absolutely wonderful! Steeped in the music, and in aspects of his life we maybe never think about—a fascinating summation of Beethoven!” —Sean Rafferty, In Tune, Radio 3

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