The Genius of Beethoven
A 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.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 3 hours)