Week 26 – Beethoven’s Blog

Posted on August, 13th 2021

Thayer Biography of Beethoven

Alexander Wheelock Thayer (1817 – 1897) was born in Massachusetts and died in Trieste, Italy. He was a journalist and professional librarian. A lover of music and scholarship, he was dismayed by the lack of an accurate biography of Beethoven, the musical giant who dominated the musical world at that time. So he decided to write his own. His story is told much better in a couple of articles I’ve found. I suggest you music lovers peruse these. I’ve admired and looked up to Thayer for so long for his commitment and scholarship. I’ve read that some don’t enjoy reading his Life of Beethoven  because of his dated writing style. What?! Are Shakespeare, Milton, Dickens dated? Should a modern day author be intimidated by what a reader 150 years hence might think? Ridiculous. So dear friends, consider buying a copy and enjoy! In the meanwhile I’m sure you’ll find these very interesting.


Those incredible nine symphonies! The concertos and chamber music! The sonatas! What a treasure trove of monumental instrumental music. We tend to overlook some beautiful vocal works of his. Soon we will examine some of Beethoven’s songs and where they fit in to his musical output. As a little teaser I’d like to offer this stunningly beautiful song Adelaide sung by the great tenor Fritz Wunderlich.