The publishers of Beethoven's Hair have placed it under strict
embargo, so we do not have a copy to review at the time of going to
press, but by all accounts it looks set to be a fantastic tale and
will be available by the time you receive this Guide. We are told
that in 1827, Ferdinand Hiller, a 15-year-old musician who was
infatuated with Beethoven, snipped a lock of the composer's hair
from his head after he had died. In 1994, 167 years later, the hair
(comprising 582 strands) turned up for sale at Sotheby's, and is
currently undergoing extensive DNA tests in Arizona in an attempt
to unlock secrets of Beethoven's health problems and perhaps even
his talent. This promises to be a gripping read. (Kirkus UK)
As Ludwig van Beethoven lay dying in 1827, a young musician named
Ferdinand Hiller came to pay his respects to the great composer. In
the days after Beethoven's death, Hiller snipped a lock of his hair
as a keepsake. This lock was passed down for more than a century
through Hiller's family, until, during World War II, it found its
way to the town of Gilleleje, in Nazi-occupied Denmark. There, it
was given to a local doctor, Kay Fremming, involved in the effort
to give aid to hundreds of frightened and hunted Jews. Who gave him
the hair, and why? And what made Dr Fremming so reticent to speak
about those terrible war years? After his death, Fremming's
daughter inherited the lock, and eventually put it up for sale at
Sotheby's, where two American Beethoven enthusiasts, Ira Brilliant
and Che Guevara, purchased it in 1994. Subsequently, they and
others have instituted DNA and other tests in the hope of revealing
the probable causes of the composer's famously bad health, his
deafness, and his final demise. This work looks at this inriguing
journey through time.
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