Viking will publish In Search of Beethoven by Oxford professor Laura Tunbridge for the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth in 2020.
Daniel Crewe, publisher of the Penguin Random House imprint, acquired world rights directly from Tunbridge. In Search of Beethoven will be published in hardback in autumn 2020.
“This tour de force, written by an expert new voice – published for the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth [in December 1770] – provides a peerless overview and a symphony of material that has never been revealed to the wider public before,” Viking said. “It's a fresh, human portrayal of Beethoven and a concise way into one of the world’s most amazing minds.”
Each chapter of the book, written by the professor of music at the University of Oxford, focuses on a period of his life, a piece of music and “a revealing theme” from family to friends, heroism to liberty.
Crewe said: “Beethoven is of course a huge cultural figure, with a guaranteed place in any starting line-up of history’s cultural icons. But Laura shows authoritatively and entertainingly – whether on his reception at the time or his life beyond composing – why our thoughts about him need some retuning. Her writing is a breath of fresh air, and sheer joy to read.”
Tunbridge won a three-year research fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust for a project on string quartets. This is her first trade book.