John Suchet's Beethoven Marathon

Join John Suchet for all 12 episodes of Beethoven: The Man Revealed, running from 7pm on New Year's Eve to 7am on New Year's Day.

Earlier in 2013 John Suchet presented a landmark series on Classic FM celebrating the man he believes is the most important person in the history of classical music.  

And from 7pm this New Year's Eve, Classic FM gives you the chance to enjoy all 12 episodes of Beethoven: The Man Revealed back-to-back, offering a unique insight into the life of this great composer, who changed the course of musical history forever.

Discover more about Ludwig van Beethoven’s life and the dramas, conflicts, loves and losses; his deafness and health problems; the battle with his sister-in-law for custody of her son - Beethoven's nephew - that are played out in his music.

In his compelling biography of the musical genius, John Suchet portrays the real man behind the music and plays some of Beethoven’s greatest works, revealing the pain and joy behind them. John reveals a difficult and complex character, struggling to continue his profession as a musician despite increasing deafness, alienating friends with unprovoked outbursts of anger one moment, overwhelming them with excessive kindness and generosity the next, living in a city in almost constant disarray because of war with France.

This is the real Beethoven and John will be bringing him faithfully and vividly to life through his knowledge and the composer’s music.

New Year's Eve

7pm-8pm John Suchet introduces the life and work of Beethoven and explores some of his early music, including his Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph, written when Beethoven was 19.

The women in Beethoven’s life are the theme this hour. Music includes the beautiful Moonlight Sonata, which Beethoven dedicated to his pupil, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, and the evergreen Fur Elise.

Beethoven’s emerging celebrity coincided with his increasing deafness. In this hour, John showcases the composer’s early symphonies and the Eroica Variations for piano.

John Suchet is joined by violinist Nigel Kennedy to explore Beethoven’s contributions to the violin repertoire, including the mighty Violin Concerto, the Kreutzer sonata and the Spring sonata, the Romance No.1 for Violin and Orchestra and the ‘Ghost’ Trio.

Beethoven’s ‘Heroic’ period takes us up to the New Year as John introduces the seminal Eroica Symphony and the Waldstein piano sonata.

New Year's Day

12am-1am The 22 December 1808 was a memorable date in Beethoven’s life. He premiered his triumphant Fifth Symphony and the pastoral Sixth. There was also a glimpse of what was to come in the Ninth Symphony with Beethoven’s earlier Choral Fantasia.

John explores Beethoven’s relationship with royalty. There’s the so-called Battle Symphony which he dedicated to Britain’s Prince Regent, the Piano Trio dedicated to Archduke Rudolph of Austria, and his cantata Der Glorreiche Augenblick which celebrated the opening of the Congress of Vienna, the aim of which was to redraw the map of Europe after the Napoleonic wars.

In this hour, John looks at Beethoven’s magisterial Symphony No.7 and the composer’s only opera, Fidelio.

Beethoven had both a spiritual dimension and a sense of humour. Music explored includes his Missa Solemnis and his final piano sonata, no.32.

John looks at the music composed by Beethoven in the last years of his life including the String Quartet Op.132 and the Grosse Fuge.

Despite his deafness, Beethoven’s final compositions are probably his greatest. John introduces the Triple Concerto, the final string quartets and, of course, the landmark Symphony No.9.

For his final hour, John showcases the last bars of music Beethoven ever wrote and the music that was played at his funeral.