The life and death of the legendary Ludwig van Beethoven. Besides all the work he is known for, the composer once wrote a famous love letter to a nameless beloved, and the movie tries to ... See full summary »
On June 9, 1804, Ludwig van Beethoven and his pupil Ries assemble a group of musicians to give the first performance of his Third Symphony, 'Bonaparte', to his patron Prince Lobkowitz and ... See full summary »
In 1919, demobbed, Gerald Brenan rents a house for a year in Yegen, a village in Alpujarra. He has little but a love of reading and writing. He's soon the center of attention from his maid,... See full summary »
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
The movie is set in 1824 during the composition of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Throughout the movie Beethoven is shown to be hard of hearing but quite capable of understanding people who speak loudly. In reality, Beethoven had totally lost his hearing seven years earlier (1817). The 9th Symphony was composed while he was completely deaf. See more »
Ludwig van Beethoven:
The vibrations on the air are the breath of God speaking to man's soul. Music is the language of God. We musicians are as close to God as man can be. We hear his voice, we read his lips, we give birth to the children of God, who sing his praise. That's what musicians are.
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I loved the film -- Read Maynard Solomon if you want historical accuracy
I enjoyed "Copying Beethoven" for different reasons than I enjoyed "Eroica" (the Ninth was the focus of practically every moment) and "Immortal Beloved" (the conflict between the composer's passion for creating music and his human need to be connected to others). For me, the focus of "Copying Beethoven" combined these two themes into a much more personal one, and dramatized the Maestro's need to communicate a comprehensive knowledge -- intellectual, emotional, spiritual -- of his art to this young copyist who was so intimate with his work. For if not her, than who?
While the musical performances were truncated out of necessity -- the success of the film, "Eroica", is due primarily to the performance of the Third Symphony in its entirety -- the actors' performances in "Copying Beethoven" reveal aspects of Beethoven not explored in the other two films. Beethoven is always portrayed as a "cranky genius", but Harris' Beethoven is so human -- impulsive and brutish, then reflective and apologetic, then insensitive and crude, then regretful and humble -- someone trying not to make the same mistakes over again. The relation he develops with the copyist realistically (and thankfully) does not influence his music, but it does cause his character to focus on his humanity, and I so enjoyed hearing this Beethoven talk about things like music, musicians, family, and God.
A word about the other performances. Kruger was radiant. The conflict between her respect for the artist and repulsion at his cruelty was wonderfully mixed with her character's own strengths, ambitions, and needs. The supporting characters were also splendid with hilarious and touching moments. The film is full of delightful words and gestures. Whether you have read volumes of history on Beethoven or are only passingly familiar with the Fifth, I recommend you see this lovely film about the humanity that lived within the genius who infused music with life.
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