By Jessica Duchen

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

Tuesday, 17 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 of expertise: Simon Hewitt Jones, who knows how to work the technical side of such things; and Joanna Pieters, editor and podcaster, who I knew would bring a fantastic positive energy to the hosting and interviewing. (Do check out her podcasts, The Creative Life Show.) She did. The whole thing ran like a perfectly oiled clock, and I hope I didn't sound too cuckoo.

Next, we might not have been together, and the audience chat was all typed rather than spoken, but we had friends signing in from all over. Los Angeles, New York, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, and even good old East Sheen. How would that even have been dreamed of a year ago? (Clue: it wasn't.) 

Third, it was enormous fun and at the end I felt like we'd had a genuine party, even though I was safely on the sofa in my slippers with a cat and a glass of wine by 8.30pm.

And finally, but by no means least, if you missed it you can now watch it on Youtube, right here. Enjoy!

I'm starting to get ideas as a result, which is really dangerous.........

Meanwhile there's lovely feedback arriving about the book: several top-notch reviews on Goodreads et al, and lots of spin-off interest in the vein of "are you free next Monday?", which is how the music world has to plan things at present. On balance, and with hindsight, I must admit I'd advise people to check the date of the American election before planning a release date for a new book...but nevertheless perhaps there is some advantage to the fact that more people are feeling vaguely positive now than were previously.

Thank you as ever for all your support. You've made all of this possible. I look forward to raising an actual glass with you when we're allowed to do so.

Love and best wishes,




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Peter Thompson
 Peter Thompson says:

Dear Jessica
I really enjoyed reading Immortal - it has left a vivid mental picture of life in Vienna and central Europe at this turbulent time, and provided a completely convincing human portrait of Beethoven, I think much better than some dry biography.
I also enjoyed the launch event, which went very well.
I thought you might be vaguely interested to know that my aunt married Baron Alexander von Stackelberg in about 1940, in Finland; I met him a few times, and he seemed a much nicer character than his ancestor portrayed in your book (he also no longer had estates in Estonia!); he and my aunt had no children, so I don't know if the line has survived.
Congratulations on the book!

posted 17th November 2020

Jessica Duchen
 Jessica Duchen says:

Dear Peter,
Thank you so much - I'm delighted you enjoyed the book and the launch too.
That is absolutely extraordinary about you having a Baron Stackelberg in the family! I certainly hope he was nicer than Christoph; apparently there is evidence in some letters in Estonia that the latter was a real domestic/religious tyrant who gave poor Minona a frightful time when she was growing up. Christoph had nine siblings and it's clear the family was extremely prominent in the Estonian aristocracy. One of his brothers, Otto, was a distinguished archaologist. I suspect Christoph was the black sheep...
Thanks again and lots of love to you and Sonja,

posted 18th November 2020

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