The Genius of Beethoven

The Genius of Beethoven

2005, Art and Artists  -   32 Comments
Ratings: 7.93/10 from 61 users.

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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32 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Tobias Brook

    Why oh why isn’t this wonderful documentary film available on DVD?
    Come on please BBC 🙏🏼

  2. PoopyBooty

    I'm lost who is this guy again?

  3. Inessa

    Who is the artist performing 3rd movement of moonlight sonata?The best interpretation I've ever heard

    1. Lauri Biern

      Ahhh. Beethoven…what a gift to humanity he was and still is and will forever be….❤️

  4. Farhang

    Can I buy this 3 part documentary? Thanks

  5. anne mette holm

    Most of it can be found on youtube, but part 3 has somehow been taken down and replaced by an upload in a slightly distoteted format - in 7 small parts. Why?

  6. Elder

    NO proper documentation of all the piano pieces played

    1. ilayda

      yes and i am looking for the piece he played at 28:00, it really touched my soul but i cannot find it.

  7. Michael

    How do I watch part 3, which has been blocked on copyright grounds?

  8. Eleanor

    Brilliantly done piece on the 'Great Man,' as he was referred to during his lifetime. BBC seamlessly combined interviews with Hazelton and others with scenes of Rhys portrayal of LvB. Agree with Mr Mero - ashame this is not on DVD! The 250th Jubilee of LvB is around the corner.

  9. Megh Banerjee

    The best on Beethoven. Paul Rhys as Beethoven is just unimaginable.
    Thanks to BBC for these efforts.

  10. Jonn Mero

    Quite annoying that this gem is not available on DVD!

  11. Dragan Voji?i?

    Beethoven was the greatest genius of music that was born .

    1. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Raj Basel

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

  14. Timmy Suckmeister

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

  15. 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.

    1. 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.

  16. Boriana Jeleva

    Vwry well done! Thanks BBC for this production.

  17. Boriana Jeleva

    Wel done. Thanks BBC for this remarcable production.

  18. Boriana Jeleva

    Well done.Thanks BBC for producing such wonderfil works.

  19. canne

    not back. liked it.

    does anyone know of any films regarding chopin?

    1. alexis

      a song to remember (1945) is pretty good

  20. Dodgy

    Well acted. Liked it.

  21. 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.

  22. Svenne

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

    1. 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"

  23. 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!

  24. 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.

  25. Amir Bengali

    great Doc...
    Great Composer!!

  26. robe33

    Another masterpiece from the BBC.