The Genius of Beethoven

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Ratings: 8.00/10 from 21 users.

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BeethovenA powerful, moving and accurate docudrama based on the life of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Paul Rhys's masterful portrayal of Beethoven is particularly noteworthy, doing well to vividly convey the isolation and despair Beethoven experienced throughout his life, while insightful narration from the popular conductor, composer and presenter Charles Hazlewood does well to add a sophisticated educational dimension to the series.

Beethoven was the grandson of a musician of Flemish origin who was also named Ludwig van Beethoven (1712–1773). The elder Ludwig was employed as a bass singer at the court of the Elector of Cologne, rising to become Kapellmeister (music director). He had one son, Johann van Beethoven (1740–1792), who worked as a tenor in the same musical establishment, also giving lessons on piano and violin to supplement his income. Johann married Maria Magdalena Keverich in 1767; she was the daughter of Johann Heinrich Keverich, who had been the head chef at the court of the Archbishopric of Trier. House of birth, Bonn, Bonngasse 20, now the Beethoven-Haus museum.

Beethoven was born of this marriage in Bonn, probably on 16 December 1770, and baptized the next day. Children of that era were usually baptized the day after birth, but there is no documentary evidence that this occurred in Beethoven's case.

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Comments and User Reviews

  • robe33

    Another masterpiece from the BBC.
    Thanks.

  • http://topdocumentaryfilms.com Amir Bengali

    great Doc...
    Great Composer!!

  • lee4

    The BBC's composition of Beethoven's life story is first class - dramatic acting punctuated with a pleasing amount of music and a clever interview device as a means of relating events through the words of his friends and acquaintances makes it very accessible, never boring and always grounded in the humanity of its subject which sometimes can be forgotten due to his mythical status. This is a passionate biography of a passionate composer.

  • Elise

    Not much more to add to the comments already offered. Wish for more documentaries of this caliber on the other major composers as well--Bach, Chopin, Schumann, Schubert, etc. This particular documentary was also especially good because the actor actually LOOKS a lot like Beethoven!

  • Svenne

    mankind climbed towards the light... whats the original name of it?

  • Catherine

    This is the best film I've ever seen on Beethoven. It shows us the man as well as the god,thank you so much. The BBC can do no wrong as far as I've seen.

  • Dodgy

    Well acted. Liked it.

  • canne

    not back. liked it.

    does anyone know of any films regarding chopin?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ICGTO3MHCYVDOQXT6UXYX2AIEQ alexis

    a song to remember (1945) is pretty good

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Boriana-Jeleva/100000549677073 Boriana Jeleva

    Well done.Thanks BBC for producing such wonderfil works.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Boriana-Jeleva/100000549677073 Boriana Jeleva

    Wel done. Thanks BBC for this remarcable production.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Boriana-Jeleva/100000549677073 Boriana Jeleva

    Vwry well done! Thanks BBC for this production.

  • Guest

    An extremely well made documentary... By far the very best I've ever seen, in fact, and a true work of art in its own right. If you're a serious music lover of any genre, you owe it to yourself to watch every last minute of this. It's quite unbelievable, the job they did, in every respect. And the best thing about it is, there's tons of lengthy examples Beethoven's music in it.

    A true story -a joke- for Beethoven lovers, so that we can remember that side of him, as well...

    Beethoven, to a fellow composer: "I liked your opera. I think I will set it to music."

    I've always just loved that one.

  • jesus calvo

    "Trauerkantate auf den Tod Joseph II" (on the Death of Joseph II) WoO 87. IV. Aria con coro: "Da stiegen die Menschen ans Licht"

  • http://twitter.com/SUCKMEISTER Timmy Suckmeister

    What an excellent documentary about a musical genius and tortured soul! Bravo!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002876778720 Raj Basel

    Never has any medium made more illuminating docu-dramas than the BBC. Bravo.

  • Ana E. Leggeri

    Excellent! I recomend it to all ....and I think it is a must to all Beethoven lovers no matter how many biographies they have read.

  • http://twitter.com/dravoj Dragan Voji?i?

    Beethoven was the greatest genius of music that was born .

  • Airvaulting for Girls

    Yep, me, too, whoever you were. The old prick could be pretty brutal with his fellow composers, but very few have ever had the ability to back up such an attitude better.

  • Jonn Mero

    Quite annoying that this gem is not available on DVD!

  • Pysmythe

    After Bach, you mean, and probably after Mozart, as well. However, I'll certainly give you that he was much more groundbreaking in the development of music than either of the other two, generally speaking. Really, of the three (and I speak from long experience), it's Beethoven with whom one has to come to terms during the process of finding one's own musical voice. Maybe you already know it, but even the likes of Brahms himself was often little short of terrified about the shadow of Beethoven that loomed over him for nearly his entire career.