By Jessica Duchen

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

Tuesday, 29 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 date is one month from today.

The cats came running to investigate and I thought they were being pleased for me, but as it turned out, they were more interested in the cardboard boxes.

[Of course, the longer the book, the more can go wrong. I spotted a couple of "howlers" that had eluded my numerous read-throughs and at least three pairs of editorial eyes, and which are nobody's fault but my own. These are being corrected for the next print-run and the ebook.]

Moving swiftly on, there's some news about the narrated concerts we have lined up in November. My beloved concert partner Viv McLean has reluctantly decided he can't go ahead with them for family reasons. I'm devastated to lose him, but all being well we will reunite in the spring for more shows then. 

A few weeks ago, however, I bumped into an incredible musician who mentioned that he's been learning all the Beethoven sonatas this year...with the result that for at least two of the November performances, our pianist will be the great Piers Lane. The first of these concerts is at the Barnes Music Society at St Mary's Church, Church Road, Barnes, London SW13, on 12 November. The other is a week later for another society, for which I will confirm details ASAP. Both will admit socially distanced audiences from their membership. I'm thrilled and honoured that Piers can take these on and am crossing fingers desperately that nothing happens to shut down concerts between then and now.

Meanwhile, if you are a Friend, Associate or Benefactor of the Two Moors Festival (Exmoor/Dartmoor), you now have access until 26 October to a talk about Beethoven that I was hoping to give in person as a pre-concert event, but for obvious reasons ended up recording at home in my study. 

Next, if you haven't yet found the Fidelio Orchestra Café concerts in Clerkenwell, it's time you did. Some of the finest musicians in London perform in an intimate but suitably distanced setting and a luxury dinner is included in the ticket price. In November the café is hosting a festival involving talks, workshops and performances, named Up Close and Musical, across a long weekend. I'm looking forward massively to taking part in it with a Q&A session and a reading. You can find more details here.

Last but not least, I'm brainstorming with those who know how to do digital book-launches. More on that soon, I hope.

What a roller-coaster this has been. I am completely knackered and am thinking of going (situation willing) for a short escape in October so that I can do nothing for a few days. Anyway, we're nearly there...

I hope you're all keeping well, safe and smiling and that the book will provide some welcome escapism as autumn and winter progress.

Thank you, as ever, for all your much-needed support and enthusiasm! Ludwig - or "Luigi" - lives.

Love and best wishes,

Jessica x



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