Beethoven's Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a by Russell Martin

By Russell Martin

Ludwig van Beethoven lay demise in 1827, a tender musician named Ferdinand Hiller got here to pay his respects to the good composer. In these days, it was once established to snip a lock of hair as a memento, and this Hiller did an afternoon after Beethoven's demise. by the point he was once buried, Beethoven's head have been approximately shorn by way of the numerous those that equally had sought after an enduring keepsake of the nice guy. Such used to be his strong impression on all those that had heard his music.For a century, the lock of hair used to be a precious Hiller family members relic, and maybe was once destined to finish up sequestered in a financial institution vault, till it one way or the other came across its method to the city of Gilleleje, in Nazi-occupied Denmark, in the course of the darkest days of the second one international struggle. There, it used to be given to an area health professional, Kay Fremming, who was once deeply concerned about the hassle to aid shop countless numbers of hunted and apprehensive Jews. Who gave him the hair, and why? And what used to be the destiny of these refugees, holed up within the attic of Gilleleje's church?After Fremming's dying, his daughter assumed possession of the lock, and finally consigned it on the market at Sotheby's, the place American Beethoven fanatics, Ira superb and Che Guevara, bought it in 1994. as a consequence, they and others instituted a chain of advanced forensic checks within the desire of discovering the possible motives of the composer's chronically undesirable wellbeing and fitness, his deafness, and the ultimate loss of life that Ferdinand Hiller had witnessed all these years in the past. the consequences, published for the 1st time the following, are startling, and are the main compelling rationalization but provided for why one of many prime musicians the area has ever recognized was once compelled to spend a lot of his lifestyles in silence.In Beethoven's Hair, Russell Martin has created a wealthy ancient treasure hunt, an Indiana Jones-like story of fake leads, notable breakthroughs, and outstanding revelations. This certain and interesting booklet is a relocating testomony to the ability of track, the entice of relics, the heroism of the Resistance circulate, and the brilliance of molecular science.An dazzling story of 1 lock of hair and its striking travels--from nineteenth-century Vienna to twenty-first-century the United States.

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It was a curious notion to think that B e e t h o v e n might be w a t c h i n g d o w n o n h i m like a g o d a n d j u d g i n g w h e t h e r , i n fact, y o u n g B e r l i o z ' s d e s i r e for a y o u n g w o m a n ' s affections w a r r a n t e d his t o r m e n t e d e m o t i o n s . Y e t that was t h e d e g r e e t o w h i c h h e i m a g i n e d his h e r o ' s o m n i p o t e n c e a s w e l l a s t h e t r a n s c e n d e n t m a s t e r y his m u s i c h e l d o v e r t h o s e w h o o p e n e d t h e m selves t o it.

H i l l e r a n d his w i f e , A n t o l k a , i t w a s t r u e , n e v e r h a d f o u n d a w a y to forge a j o y o u s m a r r i a g e or a truly supportive p a r t n e r ship, but they had chosen to remain by each o t h e r ' s side nonetheless, and their C o l o g n e salon h a d b e c o m e as storied o v e r t h e y e a r s a s t h o s e g a t h e r i n g s t h e y h a d h o s t e d i n cities e l s e w h e r e . A n d although Hiller virtually never w r o t e or spoke p u b l i c l y a b o u t his f a m i l y life, i t i s also clear that he w a s m u c h a d o r e d b y his son, Paul, a n d his d a u g h t e r , T o n y , b o t h of w h o m had r e a c h e d t h e i r early adulthoods by n o w and w h o , t o his g r e a t d e l i g h t , h a d b e c o m e m u s i c i a n s t h e m s e l v e s .

M o r e u n i v e r s a l effects h a v e b e e n a c h i e v e d b y o t h e r s , b u t n o n e m o r e d e e p o r n o b l e . N o , w e m a y say w i t h o u t e x a g g e r a t i o n t h a t n e v e r d i d a n artist l i v e w h o s e c r e a t i o n s w e r e so truly n e w — h i s sphere was the unforeseen. It is impossible to k n o w w h e t h e r Caroline van Beethoven, the w i d o w o f B e e t h o v e n ' s n e p h e w Karl, m i g h t have read those w o r d s prior to writing to Ferdinand Hiller in M a r c h 1876.

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