Books are taking a bit longer than usual to arrive, due to COVID-19. Published ebooks are delivered immediately by email.


By Jessica Duchen

The mystery of Beethoven's lost love – Immortal Beloved.

Biography | Fiction
122% funded
156 supporters

Publication date: October 2020

book cover
You made Immortal a reality. It's available in all good book stores now.
18 pledges


eBook edition
Buy now
$20  + shipping
49 pledges

Patron Paperback

1st edition paperback, eBook edition
Buy now

Sold out!

$25  + shipping
20 pledges

Super Patron Paperback (EARLY BIRD)

1st edition paperback, eBook edition and your name in the list of Super Patrons in the front of the book. Only 20 available.
$30  + shipping
30 pledges

Super Patron Paperback

1st edition paperback, eBook edition and your name in the list of Super Patrons in the front of the book.
$55  + shipping
6 pledges

Read With A Friend

2 x 1st edition paperbacks, eBook with two names in Super Patrons list.
$75  + shipping
16 pledges

Signed Copy and Playlist

A 1st edition autographed paperback, eBook edition, access to a special Playlist curated by the author and your name in the Super Patrons list.
$115  + shipping
1 pledge

Beethoven 5

5 x 1st edition paperbacks, with up to 5 names in the Super Patrons list.
$120  + shipping
10 pledges

Book Launch Party

Attend the IMMORTAL launch party in central London, 1st edition paperback, eBook edition, playlist and your name in the Super Patrons list.
$135  + shipping
2 pledges

Early Bird: London Philharmonic Concert

Hear the great Vladimir Jurowski conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 at the Royal Festival Hall on Saturday 8 February 2020. The programme also includes Scriabin’s Symphony No. 2 and Snatches of a Conversation by Péter Eötvös. Your pledge brings you a stalls ticket for the concert, a drink and discussion with the author, fellow patrons and some of the musicians before the performance, 1st edition paperback, eBook edition and your name in the Super Patrons list. MUST BE BOOKED BEFORE 8 DECEMBER 2019
$150  + shipping
5 pledges

Sponsor A Character

Support a key character in the story. 1st edition signed paperback, eBook edition, playlist and your name in the special separate list of character sponsors. Choose from Therese von Brunsvik, Josephine von Brunsvik, Franz von Brunsvik and Julie Guicciardi.
$165  + shipping
2 pledges

Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Recordings

A CD bundle of four classic recordings from Universal Classics' Deutsche Grammophon and Decca labels, celebrating Beethoven's 250th anniversary. Featured artists include the Takács String Quartet, the pianist Maurizio Pollini and the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Karl Böhm and Carlos Kleiber. Plus a 1st edition autographed paperback, eBook edition and your name in the Super Patrons list.
Only 2 available
$300  + shipping
1 pledge

Sponsor Beethoven

Sponsor the most celebrated member of the cast. 1st edition signed paperback, eBook edition, playlist and your name in the special separate list of character sponsors.
$450  + shipping


Your personal dedication from the author on the frontispiece, plus 1st edition signed paperback, eBook edition and playlist. Only 1 available.
$750  + shipping
1 pledge

Private Concert

Jessica Duchen and concert pianist Viv McLean will offer a performance of the IMMORTAL narrated concert in your home, with music by Beethoven. Plus everything at Signed Copy and Playlist level. You will also need to provide a very good piano and cover our travel expenses (plus accommodation if a long way outside London).
$POA  + shipping

Ode To Joy

Make a donation of any amount to help make the book happen.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take for my book to get dispatched?

For books in stock we usually dispatch orders within a few working days. You will receive a dispatch email when your order is on the way.

Where can I get my book delivered to?

We have temporarily stopped taking orders for published books going to EU destinations due to BREXIT restrictions, but we deliver to most other countries worldwide. Enter your delivery address during checkout and we'll display the shipping cost when we know where to send your book. If your country does not appear on the list we are not currently taking orders to that destination.

If I buy an ebook, when will I receive this?

Ebook files are sent via email after checkout, or you can download them from your Unbound account.

Where can I buy a copy if there's none available through the Unbound website?

The book should be available to order from most bookshops, or you can support your local bookshop online by ordering from

Still have a question? Visit our Help Centre to find out more.

After Ludwig van Beethoven’s death, his secretary discovered in his apartment a portrait of an unknown woman and an impassioned love letter – returned or unsent – to an individual addressed only as ‘Immortal Beloved’. The mysterious woman’s identity has never been definitively established.

Perhaps only one person knew the whole truth...

Aged 84, Countess Therese von Brunsvík, a pioneer of Kindergarten education in Hungary, faces a dilemma. She and her sister Josephine became piano pupils of Beethoven in 1799 and grew close to him, along with their brother, Franz. Now Therese, who never married, tells a young writer that she herself was Beethoven’s lost love. But is she protecting somebody, perhaps concealing a terrible and tragic secret? Who, really, is her “niece”? Above all, how can she ever be certain?

Set in Vienna and Hungary against the turbulent background of the Napoleonic wars, in an era when ideals of equality and liberty were being asserted over entrenched aristocratic privilege, this novel is an emotional roller-coaster inspired by detailed research into a true story.

It is radically different from any Beethoven novel yet created and aims to combine the qualities of a “page-turner” with musicological accuracy and musical considerations, offering fresh light on Beethoven’s works. It casts perspective, too, on the position of women and the destructive divisions placed on relationships according to class.

Its release is timed to coincide with the Beethoven 250th Anniversary Year of 2020, for which it offers the potential to open up the composer’s world to a wide audience.

Immortal brings to life in a fresh, startling way a story that has intrigued generation after generation of music lovers. Following wide acclaim for Jessica Duchen’s musical historical novel Ghost Variations, Immortal is in a similar vein – and tackles one of music’s most famous mysteries.


Quick select rewards

$20  + shipping
49 pledges

Patron Paperback

1st edition paperback, eBook edition
Buy now
18 pledges


eBook edition
Buy now
  • Jessica Duchen avatar

    Jessica Duchen

    Jessica Duchen writes words for, with and about music. She was a correspondent and critic for The Independent from 2004 to 2016, and her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Sunday Times and BBC Music Magazine, among others. Her output to date includes six novels and two biographies (Fauré and Korngold) and a quantity of stage works and librettos for musical setting.

    Among her recent novels is Ghost Variations (Unbound, 2016), based on the true story of the Schumann Violin Concerto’s rediscovery in the 1930s. It was chosen by John Suchet as his Best Read of 2016 for the Daily Mail’s Christmas Books selection and was Book of the Month in BBC Music Magazine.

    Her librettos include the People’s Opera Silver Birch for composer Roxanna Panufnik, commissioned by Garsington and shortlisted for a 2018 International Opera Award. Current projects include a large-scale choral piece with Panufnik, Ever Us, for the Rundfunkchor Berlin and nine visiting international youth choirs, based on the words of Beethoven and the writers he admired, for premiere at the Berlin Philharmonie in 2020.

    Jessica often narrates concert versions of her novels, which have been heard at the Wigmore Hall, The Sage Gateshead, Kings Place and numerous music societies and festivals. In April 2019 her concert play Being Mrs Bach had its UK premiere at Kings Place, following its commission in 2018 for the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. (“…a beautifully crafted retelling of the ‘Bach’ story with a lot of heart” - Limelight Magazine.) A concert version of Immortal launches in 2020.

    Jessica was born within the sound of Bow Bells, studied music at Cambridge and lives in London with her husband and two cats.


    "Schumann's wonderful violin concerto has a tragic history unlike any other piece of music. In this splendid new novel Jessica Duchen manages to find the fine balance between facts and fiction. Her book reads like a thriller, yet it's also a tribute to great music and musicians" – Sir András Schiff

    Neatly subtitled ‘The Strangest Detective Story in Music’, the novel spins a gripping yarn, but also draws haunting and all-too-potent parallels between contemporary society and 1930s Britain. Duchen skilfully charts the poisonous rise of the far right and a deepening mistrust of “foreigners”, while also unpicking the thorny gender politics of the performing arts with fierce aplomb… the warmth that Duchen brings to her characterisation of d’Arányi as a brave yet guileless female musician boldly taking on the male establishment makes for a stirring read and propels the narrative to its moving and uplifting close.
    – BBC Music Magazine, Books Choice of the Month, January 2016

    A thrilling read set in Thirties London and Germany. It’s the true story of Robert Schumann’s lost violin concerto, and the race between a Hungarian violinist and the Third Reich to find and perform the work. – The Daily Mail, Best Books of the Year 2016

  • VIENNA, 1859

    “Mariam Tenger, Madam.”

    The maid stood back to admit my guest. I knew her at once. She was not “Mariam Tenger” at all.

    Those smiling, innocent eyes and upturned face had scarcely changed since her childhood. She used to hide behind my skirts when she was eight years old, too shy to show her face in front of visitors. The years roll back and I am once more in our Ofen town house, high above the Danube, with little Marie and my ever-grumbling mother.

    “Marie Hrussoczy! My dear girl.” I held out my arms and my visitor crossed the room to embrace me in a rustle of silk. Clearly she was doing well: her clothes were tasteful and practical, but finely tailored. A wedding band glinted among her rings. “Sit down, my dear, and tell me everything.”

    Marie, beaming, settled herself on the cushioned settee nearest to me. “I had to come and see you, Countess Therese. Everything I am and that I do now, I owe to you. I was so excited when I heard you were passing through Vienna.” Her gaze bounced off the wooden walking stick propped against my chair. Probably she would be wondering, in tactful silence, whether a lady of my years should be travelling at all. Yes, my dear: I should.

    “I am spending some time with my nieces - my darling Blanka has had a difficult decade and she is leaving for Paris to build a new life. Now we are going to Dresden, but we had just once more to see Vienna…” I did not mention that this might be the last time I would ever visit the city of our dreams.

    “Blanka Teleki?” Marie’s eyebrows lifted.

    “Finally she is released. Ach, terrible, terrible, what has happened to her. There is no limit to the cruelty in this world. Yet no limit, either, to its wonders…”

    Marie gave an earnest nod. She had a writer’s eyes. Eyes that notice: sensitive to atmospheres, the unseen, the unspoken, more so than we who deal in daily realities and politics can afford.

    She would be perfect.

  • 11th May 2021 A very special evening on 24 May

    Dear friends and supporters,

    I hope you are keeping well and looking forward to being able to hug people once again. With just two weeks to go until the long-postponed first performances of the 'Immortal' Concert of the Novel, it is looking as if it really will happen this time (she said, crossing fingers madly). Viv McLean and I can't wait to be reunited for the first time in over a year.…

    15th April 2021 IMMORTAL Concerts, Rescheduled!

    Dear friends, supporters and IMMORTALs,

    Whatever the rest of 2021 may hold, the parrots on the apple tree, the woodpeckers in the park and the cats moulting inside the house assure me that it really is springtime. In addition, I'm thrilled to say that some of my "concerts of the novel" of IMMORTAL, along with a few other stage pieces, are once again in the diary. Let's take this slowly, because…

    16th December 2020 HAPPY BEETHOVEN'S BIRTHDAY!

    It's today - probably. It may actually be tomorrow. Either way, Happy Beethoven's Birthday! 

    How will you celebrate? Personally, I will be busy transcribing an interview about Beethoven with a total genius of a pianist whose CD booklet note I am writing.

    It's Krystian Zimerman. You can see his performances with Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO of the five Beethoven concertos in three chunks…

    23rd November 2020 Here in our haven...

    Dear friends and supporters,

    It's been a hectic few weeks and a bout of tonsillitis didn't help. So from the tranquility of a plane-less Monday morning, in company with a snoring cat and a violinist practising Paganini downstairs, here's a quick update and some links for a catch-up.

    First of all, because of a sudden, belated and unexpected lockdown (thanks, Boris...) everyone's carefully…

    17th November 2020 That was the night that was

    Dear friends and supporters,

    Tremendous thanks to everyone who joined us on Zoom a week ago for the Immortal virtual launch party. It was quite a revelation on several counts.

    First, it is every bit as much a launch do as a "real" party would be: you have to prepare properly and have the right support. I could not have been more fortunate in my amazing team, all dear friends with special kinds…


    Dear friends and supporters,

    I’d love to invite you to a digital launch party for Immortal. Even though we can’t meet in person, we’re going to do the best we can online: please join us for some reading, pictures, an interview and Q&A with me, and even some music. Do bring a glass of bubbly, a nice cup of tea or anything you fancy.

    I'm delighted that my interviewer will be Joanna Pieters…

    30th October 2020 Wigmore Hall's digital launch for 'Immortal'

    Dear all,

    Yesterday was rather amazing: publication day included lots of wonderful messages, the first reviews (nice ones - phew!) and the release of Wigmore Hall's video in which I introduce the book and do some readings and the wonderful pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen (pictured) plays Beethoven's Sonata in F major, Op. 10 No. 2. This was made possible by the extremely kind invitation of the Hall…

    29th October 2020 IT'S PUBLICATION DAY

    It's the big day. 29 October 2020 and IMMORTAL is officially out. All you wonderful people who have subscribed should already have your copies, and I know that some of you have even finished it (apparently long books are in vogue at the moment - er, something to do with lockdown - and probably just as well, given the size of this one). So there we are. Is this the end of a journey, or the beginning…

    22nd October 2020 One week to go!

    Dear friends and supporters,

    You will already have recevied your copies of IMMORTAL, but the rest of the world has to wait until 29 October, which is Official Publication Day. Here's an update on what is planned to help set it on its way.

    First of all, there's this amazing modern phenomenon called The Blog Tour. The dedication of book bloggers never ceases to amaze me: that there are so many…

    14th October 2020 The difficult stuff

    Dear friends and supporters, 

    Hopefully you will now have received your shiny new copies, or indeed shiny new ebooks, of IMMORTAL itself. I hope you're enjoying it - do please write and tell me your thoughts when you've had a chance to read it!

    Meanwhile, I was saddened to hear the other day that the celebrated musicologist Maynard Solomon has died, aged 90. I have admired his writings for…

    29th September 2020 It's arrived!

    Dear friends and supporters,

    Here it is! The first copies are in. Yesterday they sent me a couple of boxfuls so I can do the necessaries for those of you who've pledged for a signed copy. It looks splendid: a chunky paperback with a cover image that should hopefully be recognisable to anyone who's heard of Beethoven and that allows the book to do more or less what it says on the tin. Release…

    10th September 2020 Nights in the garden of panic


    Dear friends and supporters,

    You've probably received a message from Unbound announcing that IMMORTAL has gone to press. So there we are: done, dusted and ready to rock. People have been asking how I feel, expecting "great", "thrilled", "proud" and "let's PARTAAY...except we can't..." .

    The reality is that I'm scared witless.

    I'm sure I'm not the only person who, throughout this…

    16th August 2020 Rage over a lost...Hungarian Rondo?

    Dear friends and supporters,

    You're probably familiar with a Beethoven stand-alone piano piece usually known as "Rage Over A Lost Penny". It is published as his Op. 129. I'm attaching a video in which we can follow the sheet music while listening.

    Of course it has nothing to do with a lost coin, whether penny or florin. The only reason we think it has is...Anton Schindler. Yes, it's good old…

    10th August 2020 Witschapp doc?

    (I know, I know, I couldn't resist it...)

    Dear friends and supporters,

    Today has brought one of those infuriating Things That Happen Sometimes. It is the deadline for returning the corrected proofs of IMMORTAL. Would you be able to sleep if it's 30 degrees plus and you have a few hours left to perfect 125,000 words that will probably be sitting on someone's shelf long after you're pushing…

    27th July 2020 The proofs are in the pudding

    The final edit is done! I am now waiting for the page proofs. This is a scary prospect, because it is too late to change anything substantial. I'm an inveterate tinkerer when it comes to revisions, and especially when so much of the hard graft has been done under tricky circumstances: in lockdown, like so many other people, I have found concentration tough, distraction everywhere, anxieties glooping…

    17th July 2020 Some wonderful endorsements for IMMORTAL - and last chance to be a patron!

    Dear friends and supporters,

    There are TWO (2) DAYS left in which you can get your name listed in IMMORTAL as a patron. Next week I shall send back the final edit (if you think I've been quiet recently, well, it's a lot of work) and the book gets turned into proofs. After that, only errors can change: no more additions. So if you have not yet put in a pledge and you want to be there, it is…

    6th July 2020 On this day, 1812...

    Dear friends and supporters,

    Here is the 'Letter to the Immortal Beloved', scrawled in pencil by an impassioned Ludwig van Beethoven on 6 July in a year that careful research eventually - after a very long time - traced to 1812. I took this photo in Vienna during my research trip last October. You can see his increasing haste, the relatively sedate beginning, the whirl of the conclusion (written…

    4th June 2020 Exciting news. No, REALLY exciting news

    Dear friends and supporters,

    I know everyone says their news is exciting (and if it wasn't then it probably wouldn't be news at all). But what I have to report now is, I promise, seriously good.

    GHOST VARIATIONS and ODETTE both came out on Unbound's Digital List - so-called, though it is also paperbacks - and I was delighted with how they went. IMMORTAL was signed up on the same basis. But Unbound…

    15th May 2020 Beethoven Matters: a discussion with the Royal Philharmonic Society and Garsington, online

    Dear friends and supporters,

    I hope you're keeping well and safe. Aren't we lucky that this has been the sunniest spring in...possibly ever?

    As lockdown continues, sort of, vaguely, and as the government's award-winning communication strategy leaves nobody quite sure what we're meant to be doing or how, many of us are starting to think of new ways to function. Some of us are trying ideas we…

    23rd April 2020 My top 5 books on Beethoven

    The website Five Books very kindly interviewed me about my top five choices of reading about Beethoven. It's a relatively in-depth discussion, if a bit rambly on my part (I didn't realise it would be a word-for-word transcript of the phone call), and aimed to identify some good material primarily for the general rather than academic music lover.

    It seems to have gone down quite well, so here's…

    15th April 2020 Visualisation

    I am trying to see "my" characters. Normally it's quite easy; and it's vital, because the better you can visualise them in your mind's eye, the more vividly they will come across (at least, this is the theory). I used to make a character chart for each person in a novel, setting down everything from their height and eye colour to their favourite objects, their preferences in food, the time they…

    3rd April 2020 Off the wall in 10,000 steps

    Dear friends and supporters,

    It's Friday, apparently - not that I'd have guessed. The days are measured out in porridge, coffee, soup, tea and job-lots of 10,000 steps and by 9.30pm I am knackered and ready for a good long sleep. How do I normally manage, out at 3 or so performances a week, back at 11pm or later, navigating busy trains and the throngs of central London?

    The 10,000 steps…

    27th March 2020 Springtime for Ludwig?

    Under normal circumstances (whatever "normal" means any more), I'd have to pinch myself to make sure all this is real.

    It's springtime. All week there hasn't been a cloud in the sky in which one could seek a silver lining. The magnolias are out and each day on my government-approved-exercise-walk I notice the new leaves have advanced another few bright millimetres. The cats are busy catting, aware…

    18th March 2020 My London diary, going live on my blog

    Dear friends and supporters,

    I hope you are all keeping well, coping well and not feeling too anxious. It is a strange time and I've been hesitating to write updates because things change so rapidly, from day to day and sometimes hour to hour. 

    I was hoping to invite you to some nice IMMORTAL concerts in late spring, but most of the planned events are being cancelled. In a way, this is positive…

    6th March 2020 Top Ten Beethoven Myths to Debunk Right Away

    Dear friends and supporters,

    In these weird times, it's good to try to maintain business as usual as far as humanly possible, so here is a Friday update. 

    I spent a splendid afternoon yesterday talking to the academic and writer Leah Broad about IMMORTAL and other matters musical, an interview that will go out on her podcast series. Among a range of interesting questions that she put forward…

    21st February 2020 In portrait: how views of Beethoven transformed

    Dear friends and supporters,

    If you're not yet familiar with the website of the Beethovenhaus Bonn, do please take a look at it. This museum and research centre at the composer's birthplace is the world centre for work on him, and their digital library is a treasure trove, available to view wherever you may be. During the writing of IMMORTAL I have spent innumerable hours online, browsing their…

    14th February 2020 Happy Valentine’s Day, Luigi

    Dear friends and supporters,

    Happy Valentine's Day to you all, and may the love of music be with you for this and every day! 

    Ludwig (or Luigi, as Therese calls him) van Beethoven's love story is bigger than most of us had thought, myself included; and there's a chance that the repercussions go deeper into his art than one might expect. For the occasion, then, Udiscovermusic, the webzine…

    24th January 2020 Beethoven Year is up and running

    Dear friends and supporters,

    Welcome to the first Friday Update of the new year. We slunk out of winter for a few weeks far, far away in the sun (we must have been the only Brits in town not going to the cricket...) and are now back and trying to come to terms with the dubious future that our home country is facing in 2020. There's a rock of strength to draw upon, though, and his name is Ludwig…

    13th December 2019 The real battle: truth versus entertainment

    It's the morning after the night before. Happy Friday 13th, everyone. What sort of a place will the UK be three years from now? How the blazes did we get here? (And can Beethoven help?) (Above: I'm glad to see his study was even messier than mine.)

    These concerns do have elements in common with IMMORTAL, which is why I'm devoting this week's Friday update to them.

    One thing that Donald Trump…

    29th November 2019 BREAKING: The first draft is finished!

    Dear friends and supporters,

    Amazing news: the first draft of IMMORTAL is finished.

    I've written 140,000 words in six months. That was the fun bit. 

    It is more than ten years since I last wrote a first draft in such a short time, so it is a relief to find I can still do it. Ghost Variations was interrupted by bouts of intense stress, annoying illnesses and frustrating situations (until I…

    21st November 2019 How it all began

    Dear friends and supporters,

    It occurs to me that in all these Friday updates I've never explained why I started on this crazy project, or why then. If you think I set myself a heck of a deadline, given that the Beethoven 250th year is nearly upon us, you are spot on. Several times a week (um, a day) I think I must be insane to try to make this work. Here, then, is the rationale.

    A few years…

    15th November 2019 State of play...

    Dear friends and supporters,

    Welcome to the latest Friday update on IMMORTAL. News of the book continues to be excellent - funding now stands at 101 per cent and it is lovely to note that new pledges have arrived every single week since launch. Do note, please, that just because the 100 per cent mark has been reached, the fundraising drive is not actually finished. Any monies over and above the…

    4th November 2019 Is Beethoven actually trying to kill me?


    (Above: the house in which Beethoven wrote the Heiligenstadt Testament in 1802. It was behind a bakery at the time.)

    Dear friends and supporters,

    This is your Friday update, except it's Monday. I came home from Vienna on Friday evening sick as the proverbial dog and barking like one. I was already unwell when I set off the previous Sunday; charging around the city, trying to see…

    26th October 2019 Great news! REALLY great news!

    Dear friends and supporters,

    It's not Friday, but never mind - no day is too soon for this. Tonight (Saturday 26 October) IMMORTAL hit and surpassed its funding target. Yes, we are at 100%+ and I am absolutely over the moon. I can't thank you enough for helping to make this dream book into reality.


    1. Unbound usually gives us a 90 day timeframe…

    25th October 2019 A reminder of what it's all for

    (above: Leonard Bernstein at the Berlin Wall. Photo by Andreas Meyer-Schwickerath from

    Dear friends and supporters,

    It's been a strange week. I'm down with my second awful cold in a month, and it seems symbolic that I've lost my voice, since I'm also lost for words when I see the state of our politics at present. I'm escaping on Sunday for six days scouting Beethoven…

    18th October 2019 Immortal, Handel, Odette und, ach, Wien, mein Wien

    Dear friends and supporters,

    Welcome to our regular Friday update on IMMORTAL and its progress. If you're new to the IMMORTAL family, I extend to you the warmest welcome and biggest THANK YOU in south-west London! 

    First, some numbers. This morning the crowdfunding stands at 90 per cent towards target, with 90 supporters. Some of you I've known all or most of my life, others I "met" on social…

    11th October 2019 When reality is stranger than fiction...

    Dear friends and supporters,

    Welcome to our Friday IMMORTAL update! Thank you again for all your kind contributions and faith in this book-in-the-making.

    As things stand today we have 82 patrons who have brought the level to a tantalising 83% of funding target, 73 days after launch. This is fantastic, of course, and I am profoundly grateful to all of you for your help. But please may I ask…

    4th October 2019 Holey smoke

    Dear friends and supporters,

    Happy Friday and welcome to our regular IMMORTAL update. As things stand, we are 82% of the way towards target, which is fabulous - but please, keep 'em coming. Huge thanks to all of you for your generosity, moral support and faith in Beethoven!

    Writing is going a little more slowly because of pressures of other (paid) work and the eternal distraction of the news…

    27th September 2019 Swimmingly?

    Dear friends and supporters,

    Happy Friday, and thank you again for all your pledges, messages and enthusiasm for IMMORTAL. We are 80% of the way towards the funding now - hooray! A reminder that until the end of Sunday 29 September there's a special offer of a 10% discount on pledges up to £100 (on this and other Unbound projects that are over 75% towards toward target) to help get the book…

    23rd September 2019 Achtung! Special discount week!

    Dear friends and supporters,

    Here is a message from me, Ludwig on my t-shirt and Cosi the cat on my desk chair!

    We are delighted to say that IMMORTAL is now 79% funded. Just 21% to go. TODAY AND TOMORROW, to help the nearly-there books to hit target, Unbound is offering 10% off pledges up to £100 on those that are currently in the last quarter of funding, including mine.

    So, if you fancy…

    13th September 2019 Beethoven and...Robert and Clara Schumann

    Today is the 200th anniversary of Clara Schumann's birth. I was looking for a portrait of her to put on my blog, JDCMB, and found that she had been painted as a young woman by the same artist who created the portrait of Beethoven that we use in the IMMORTAL introductory video: a gentleman named Granger. 

    Here it is:

    When Beethoven died, Clara was eight years old, and Robert Schumann sixteen…

    6th September 2019 Why IMMORTAL? Why fiction? Why now?

    The other day I was in a London music library, trawling the Beethoven shelf. My goodness, but there's a lot of writing about him. Some of the books were published in the early part of the 20th century - topics such as, to paraphrase, "Beethoven is all about strength" (disconcerting in view of what was happening in the late 20s to 30s); others involve up-to-the-minute scholarship with tables of…

    30th August 2019 A composer for our testing times

    At the moment, watching the heinous goings-on that pass for running our country, it would be easy to despair and to think that writing a novel about a 19th-century composer is a futile distraction. Fortunately, though, our composer is Beethoven - and there is no better music to bolster idealism, determination and resilience than he. 

    Have a listen to his Egmont Overture, played at the Proms…

    23rd August 2019 FIDELIO rising

    With the Beethoven 250th anniversary coming up next year, just about every opera company I can think of is preparing to stage Fidelio, and plentiful orchestras are planning concert performances. It is the only opera Beethoven wrote - or at least, the only one he completed.

    He started another, earlier, entitled Vestas Feuer, set in ancient Rome. The libretto was by Schikaneder (of The Magic…

    16th August 2019 Did he really?

    Here's a little truism for a Friday lunchtime. Our sheer reverence towards the great composers of the past sometimes interferes with our understanding of their work. Occasionally it even affects performances of them. Do you agree?

    Last year I undertook a project for BBC Music Magazine, comparing recordings of Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" Sonata and choosing the "best" (I use inverted commas with…

    4th August 2019 Flying start, barefoot

    Dear friends and supporters,

    Thank you so much for your generous pledges! IMMORTAL is off to a flying start - 28 per cent funded after just five days - and I couldn't be happier. (Well, I could if it was 100 per cent, but y'know... this is really good.) It's incredibly encouraging and I value the moral support as much as the actual £ - because it means that you want this book, which means I…

  • These people are helping to fund Immortal.

    User avatar

    Cosmin Hănulescu

    User avatar

    Wendy Swallow

    User avatar

    Galina Tanney

    User avatar

    Amanda-Jane Doran

    User avatar

    Leslie East

    User avatar

    Norman Jacobs

    User avatar

    Margarida Mota-Bull

    User avatar

    Suzi Digby

    User avatar

    Michela Cocolin

    User avatar

    Errollyn Wallen

    User avatar

    Danielle Salamon

    User avatar

    Philip Ward

    User avatar

    Mary Jordan-Smith

    User avatar

    Richard Bratby

    User avatar

    Sascha Kelly

    User avatar

    Heather Sharp

    User avatar

    Robin Jacobs

    User avatar

    Fiona Moncur

    User avatar

    Suchada Bhirombhakdi

    User avatar

    Tim Lund Jorgensen

    User avatar

    Ina Tullo

    User avatar

    Bernie Corbett

    View more