Journeys With Beethoven: Following the Ninth, and Beyond

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Co-author Kerry Candaele

"A passionate, deeply felt and altogether personal account of coming to Beethoven in middle age, after a lifetime's immersion in other musical forms. They understand Beethoven's eternal wildness: As well as we may think we know this composer, he constantly surprises and reinvigorates us." -- Tim Page, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer on classical music, Professor of Music and Journalism at the University of Southern California

Finally, a Beethoven for our time. In “Journeys With Beethoven,” Kerry Candaele and Greg Mitchell offer a unique and dynamic exploration of the composer’s musical, cultural and political influence, around the world and in America, today. It’s a new kind of adventure story--and expanded in this new 2013 edition.

The two longtime rock 'n rollers—Candaele is a writer, musician and filmmaker, Mitchell a journalist and author of twelve previous books—discovered a shared passion for Beethoven later in life, and in this book they probe this deep obsession. Candaele illuminates trips for his new “Following the Ninth” documentary set in Chile, China, Germany, Japan and London (with Billy Bragg), while Mitchell, who is co-producer of the film, travels to famous U.S. venues, screens dozens of films related to Beethoven. He also interviews a leading pianist, Jeremy Denk, and trombonist Joseph Alessi, and others.

Five years ago, Candaele set out on a world journey to film the global impact—in freedom struggles, and in inspiring people in their daily lives—of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. He ended up traveling to twelve countries and four continents. His film has drawn raves from The New York Times, Bill Moyers and "All Things Considered," among others.

In China he discovered why a student leader played the Ninth over a loudspeaker as the troops moved in to Tiananmen Square. In England, the folk/punk singer, Billy Bragg, talked about writing a new libretto for the Ninth in English. Candaele was there when his version was performed before the Queen. In Japan, the Ninth is performed hundreds of times each December, sometimes with 5000 or 10,000 singers in the chorus, intent on transmitting a message of solidarity between all people. And in a new chapter for this edition, he tells the story of how a young East German woman--and famed conductor Leonard Bernstein--marked the falling of the Berlin Wall, aided by Beethoven. As “Journeys With Beethoven” reveals, the Ninth turns worlds inside out and upside down.

In Part II of the book, Greg Mitchell—who as senior editor at the legendary Crawdaddy magazine helped create the first major article about Bruce Springsteen—describes his own journey to Beethoven and his pursuit of all things Ludwig during the past several years via CDs, films, books, lectures, and what he calls the “new LvB delivery systems”: music downloads, YouTube videos, blogs, Web forums, Twitter feeds.

He also takes us to some of the dozens of recent concerts he’s attended throughout the northeast United States and in London. He poses questions to experts such as Beethoven biographer Edmund Morris and author Tim Page, besides his very revealing interviews with Denk and Alessi. We learn how Beethoven changed the lives of famous writers and musicians, from William F. Buckley to Leonard Bernstein. Mitchell (who writes the popular new blog, Roll Over, Beethoven) even provides a guide to Beethoven films, from the silent era to “A Clockwork Orange” and “Immortal Beloved.”

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