Friday, January 18, 2013

A Gift to Myself

Product DetailsA few weeks ago I bought myself a present--The Trans Siberian Orchestra's (TSO) Beethoven's Last Night. I had never heard this rock opera, but I knew I liked TSO's sound and the Amazon reviews were very positive.

This is not one of TSO's Christmas albums. It is a story purporting to recount the battle for Beethoven's soul and music on the last night of his life. Mephistopeles attempts to trick Beethoven out of either his soul or his life's work, particularly his just completed Tenth Symphony.

Fortunately, the CD came with a booklet that tells the whole story and gives the setting for each song, as well as the words to all the vocals. This makes listening to the drama much more enjoyable, although it would be worth listening to even if you did not have a clue as to what it was all about. The music is outstanding and the story is dramatic, touching, and tragic, with a comical twist at the end. (You mean you thought Beethoven only wrote nine symphonies?)

I enjoyed the recording played on my little boom box. Then my son-in-law gave me a new surround sound system (my old one had died) for Christmas. Today I listened to the whole thing on the new system. Outstanding!

Portrait of Beethoven from Wickipedia.
Of course, this program got me interested in the life of the real Beethoven, so I went online and did some reading about him. His real life was every bit as full of talent, success, and tragedy as the fictitious story.

While looking things up online, I discovered there is another CD set of Beethoven's Last Night which includes all the narration that is used in TSO's concert presentations. There is even a sample of this on TSO's web site.

Drat! I wish that was the version I had. As good as the strictly music CD is, the full presentation with narration is even better.

I thoroughly enjoy what I have and it prompted me to learn something about Beethoven, and his life was definitely interesting. I am basically musically ignorant, so chalk one up for education thanks to the Trans Siberian Orchestra.

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