Mr. Beethoven

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What if Beethoven had lived just a few years more? What if the Orpheus of the Age had been able to travel to the United States in their infancy, taking up a commission to write a Biblical oratorio for Boston's Handel and Haydn Society? As Mr. Beethoven wrestles with his librettist and his muse, he comes to rely on two women. Thankful, who conducts his conversations using Martha's Vineyard sign language, and a kindred spirit: Mrs. Hill. Meanwhile all Boston waits in anxious expectation of a first performance Mr. Beethoven will never hear.   Variously admonishing the amateur music society and laughing in the company of his hosts' children, the immortal composer is brought back to the fullness of life. Griffiths invents only what is strictly possible. His historiography weaves through the text in counterpoint, making this also a story about the fragility of the past and the remaining traces of the man: Mr. Beethoven.