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Malcolm McDowell
John Adams on a big Beethoven kick in San Francisco
John Adams on a big Beethoven kick in San Francisco

We cannot escape Beethoven. The big music book of the fall was American musicologist Jan Swafford's epic, 1,077-page "Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph," published less than a year after British broadcaster John Suchet's biography, "Beethoven: The Man Revealed." No month passes without new Beethoven recordings. The Los Angeles Philharmonic began the year with Michael Tilson Thomas' momentous performance of Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis," with the addition of latter-day multimedia machinations. Meanwhile, composer John Adams last week conducted an L.A. Phil Green Umbrella concert highlighted by two outlandish theatrical works, by contemporary...

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