Concentration on the score, however, does not prevent Antony Hopkins from ranging widely over Beethoven's tempestuous life, and a fascinating picture emerges. We learn much about his manic-depressive tendencies; his ambivalence over Napoleon, the aristocracy, and women; and his gaucheness and irascibility as his deafness increased. We are shown too how he was the first great Romantic composer, straining forward musically with the revolutionary movement of his age, even though a strongly conservative strain in his character often caused him to look back to his predecessors.
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