In Search of Beethoven
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About the Film
In Search of Beethoven offers a comprehensive documentary about the life and works of the great composer. Over 65 performances by the world's finest musicians were recorded and 100 interviews conducted in the making of this beautifully crafted film. It delves beneath the mythical image of the tortured, cantankerous genius to search for the real Ludwig van Beethoven. Juliet Stevenson narrates this documentary account of the life of composer Ludwig von Beethoven, covering all the major highlights from his birth in 1770 through his death in 1827. Writer-director Phil Grabsky opts for an impressionistic approach, building much of the film around the basic foundational material of interviews and studio performances of the great man's work by artists including Ronald Brautigam, Emanuel Ax, and The Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Grabsky also offsets Stevenson's traditional chronicle of Beethoven's life with letters from the composer, read by David Dawson, that unveil an intense and almost belligerent side to the musical giant, leavened with offbeat humour.
If you're interested in what made Beethoven great, and how his composing and his life story are intertwined then this is a great documentary. Its long, but I never really got bored at all. I certainly appreciate his greatness and his music more for watching this.