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Just started reading through Lockwood's Beethoven: The Music and the Life. I picked it up in January and saw that it was recommended by several people in this thread. Just finished the first fifth or so, and I can attest to its excellence. Very engaging, very informative!
negative review



John E Klapproth

1.0 out of 5 stars Solomon's Disciple
Reviewed in the United States on March 24, 2016 The Immortal Beloved Compendium: Everything About The Only Woman Beethoven Ever Loved - And Many He Didn't contains everything about this subject (including what Lockwood dosn' know).
Yet another biography of Beethoven, and yet another sad example of what comes about when German sources are ignored or regurgitated second hand. Lewis Lockwood made it very clear who he was following:
"I favor the hypothesis advanced by Maynard Solomon that the probable recipient of the 'Immortal Beloved' letter was Antonie Brentano. In light of the currently known evidence Solomon's view is by far the most convincing." (p. 499, note 16)
What kind of evidence is "currently known", is shown by the entry "1812" under "Chronology":
"Beethoven presents autograph of song 'An die Geliebte' ('To the Beloved'), WoO 140, to Antonie Brentano … In summer Beethoven … writes a letter to an unnamed woman called the 'Immortal Beloved' (almost certainly identified as Antonie Brentano)." (p. 555)
Beethoven never "presented" this to Antonie, but to the singer Regina Lang; Antonie got it only many months later - on "request".
Under "Relations with Women", Lockwood showed that he did not read carefully Josephine's letters (nor did he learn anything about letters the other members of the Brunsvik family wrote each other):
"Josephine did not reciprocate his feelings and … would not agree to sleep with him." (p. 197 f.)
(You notice that these are two different things!)
In all seriousness, he then presented a part of one of Josephine's letters to Beethoven:
"Even before I knew you, your music made me enthusiastic for you - the goodness of your character, your affection increased it. This preference that you granted me, the pleasure of your acquaintance, would have been the finest jewel of my life if you could have loved me less sensually. That I cannot satisfy this sensual love makes you angry with me, [but] I would have to violate holy bonds if I gave heed to your longing." (p. 198)
He not only gave the wrong date (some time in 1805 - it was in fact at the beginning of 1807), he also carefully omitted the preceding and the following sentences. I give here on the right, for comparison, the complete letter in my translation. The quoted one (from Albrecht 1996, #100) is in parts quite different if not misleading.
Citations out of context can easily achieve the desired effect - if this was: to mislead the reader, or to drive home a point that otherwise would not be there.
And then Lockwood once again perpetuated the myth (as quoted above) that
"Antonie … was, as Solomon discovered, the recipient of the autograph manuscript of his song 'An die Geliebte' ('To the Beloved') WoO 140." (p. 200)
What Lockwood's readers won't discover: To be fair, Antonie was indeed the recipient, not of "the", but of one autograph copy of this song, however, it was not its text (which was not authored by Beethoven), but the music which she obviously desired - to practice her guitar skills.

 
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