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1 Beaverton Music- Classical Biographies

Beethoven's Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved


Beethoven's Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved Cover


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Publisher Comments:

Ludwig van Beethoven lay dying in 1827, a young musician named Ferdinand Hiller came to pay his respects to the great composer. In those days, it was customary to snip a lock of hair as a keepsake, and this Hiller did a day after Beethoven's death. By the time he was buried, Beethoven's head had been nearly shorn by the many people who similarly had wanted a lasting memento of the great man. Such was his powerful effect on all those who had heard his music.

For a century, the lock of hair was a treasured Hiller family relic, and perhaps was destined to end up sequestered in a bank vault, until it somehow found its way to the town of Gilleleje, in Nazi-occupied Denmark, during the darkest days of the Second World War. There, it was given to a local doctor, Kay Fremming, who was deeply involved in the effort to help save hundreds of hunted and frightened Jews. Who gave him the hair, and why? And what was the fate of those refugees, holed up in the attic of Gilleleje's church?

After Fremming's death, his daughter assumed ownership of the lock, and eventually consigned it for sale at Sotheby's, where two American Beethoven enthusiasts, Ira Brilliant and Che Guevara, purchased it in 1994. Subsequently, they and others instituted a series of complex forensic tests in the hope of finding the probable causes of the composer's chronically bad health, his deafness, and the final demise that Ferdinand Hiller had witnessed all those years ago. The results, revealed for the first time here, are startling, and are the most compelling explanation yet offered for why one of the foremost musicians the world has ever known was forced to spend much of his life in silence.

In Beethoven's Hair, Russell Martin has created a rich historical treasure hunt, an Indiana Jones-like tale of false leads, amazing breakthroughs, and incredible revelations. This unique and fascinating book is a moving testament to the power of music, the lure of relics, the heroism of the Resistance movement, and the brilliance of molecular science.

An astonishing tale of one lock of hair and its amazing travels--from nineteenth-century Vienna to twenty-first-century America.

About the Author

Russell Martin is the author of five works of nonfiction, including the highly acclaimed Out of Silence, and a novel. He lives in Colorado.

Product Details

Martin, Russell
Broadway Books
New York
History & Criticism - By Composer
Beethoven, ludwig van, 1770-1827
Hiller, Ferdinand
Individual Composer & Musician
Death and burial
Beethoven, Ludwig van, 1770-1827 - Relics
General History
World History-General
World History-Holocaust
Biography-Composers and Musicians
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.03x5.21x.79 in. .54 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Classical » Biographies
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Classical » General
Arts and Entertainment » Music » History and Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Individual Composer and Musician
Biography » Composers and Musicians
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Holocaust

Beethoven's Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved Used Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages Broadway Books - English 9780767903516 Reviews:
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