Classical Kids best sellers Beethoven Lives Upstairs and Tchaikovsky Discovers America are also available as beautifully-illustrated books.
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Barbara Nichol is the author and director of the original CD of Beethoven Lives Upstairs. She has written numerous dramas for television and radio and is a frequent contributor to the CBC Radio documentary program "Ideas". In 1992 she was nominated for an Emmy Award for the "Sesame Street" special Basil Hears a Noise. This is her first children's book.From Booklist:
Gr. 3-6. Beethoven was stone deaf, solitary, and wildly eccentric when he composed the Ninth Symphony near the end of his life. This beautiful story makes you imagine what it might have been like for him: the suffering, the silence in the uproar, and the joy. The book weaves true episodes from Beethoven's life into a fictional story told in the form of letters between the young Viennese boy Christoph and his uncle Karl. Christoph is appalled when the famous musician ("a madman") moves upstairs. "Loud poundings and howlings come through the floor. They are like the sounds of an injured beast," Christoph writes to his uncle. Beethoven hums to himself in the street; he growls out tunes; he waves his arms. His room is chaotic; he writes on the wall; he plays four pianos with bumps and crashes, takes off their legs so that he can feel his playing through the floorboards. Uncle Karl writes back about the stories people tell of the famous musician. Christoph begins to feel compassion ("Imagine: he hears no music played, not even his own!"). Through the boy's eyes, we see the intense commitment of the genius who "believes that music can change the world." The oil pictures are rich and dark, with glowing, candlelit interiors; they define the period while giving a strong sense of character. But it's the story that holds you, as tension builds until the triumphant first performance of the Ninth. Based on Nichol's original cassette/CD, this will move even older kids, who might like to read the letters aloud, especially after listening to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." Hazel Rochman
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