Vienna, 1824. In the days before the first performance of the Ninth Symphony, Beethoven needs help with copying out the charts, so a promising student of composition, Anna Holtz, 23, is sent to assist him. She not only aids the transcription of the notes, she provides guidance from the orchestra pit as Beethoven conducts the work's debut. During the next two years, the final ones of Beethoven's life, Anna provides assistance to the deaf, temperamental, ailing man. In return, he tutors her in composition and explains to her the ideas and principles of Romanticism. He tries to speak for God.Written by
During the performance of the 9th, the trumpet player is shown playing a European style rotary valve trumpet with clock-spring valves (Riedl?) that were first developed in 1835. The design of the trumpet is also of later vintage, as most trumpets of this era lacked valves, the keyed bugle, Haydn's keyed trumpet and instruments with Stolzel valves being the new technology. Finally, the mouthpiece has a very modern profile, perhaps of the 20th Century. See more »
Beethoven's Ninth or the real HERstory of the early feminist role in nineteenth century musical composition.
Given our modern sensibilities with respect to the role of women in society and, lest we be labeled Calibans, it is no great effort to overlook the anachronism and give the nod to the female copyist at the start of this movie. Not five minutes later, though, we are asked to completely strain the boundaries of credulity and accept that the creativity of the second greatest composer ever to have lived (Mahler being the first) owed its triumph to a twenty-three-year-old inexperienced female "secretary".
It is at this point one realizes that the creation of the Ninth Symphony is a patina, a mere plot device, for the true substance of the movie which is Beethoven's suppressed twentieth century feminist ideology. Alas, if only the maestro himself had realized how truly ahead of his time he was! Is it really only twenty years ago we discovered Beethoven was black?
...and yet, if you love Beethoven, it is all about the music. Whatever the historical flaws in this movie, the anticipation engendered when the Ninth begins and the excitement bursting within as the choristers intone "Freude, schöener Götterfunken" of Schiller's Ode to Joy; any misgivings about the picture are completely over-shadowed by the music itself. Which says more about Beethoven's lasting genius than modern movie-making "talent" ever could.
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