Movie: Copying Beethoven

Movie: Copying Beethoven

This wasn’t on my “must see” list, but a free ticket is a free ticket. Early on, I was wondering to myself what the point of the film was: after al, it’s a fictionalised account of the last year (or three) of Ludwig van Beethoven’s life: so we’re not seeing the historical figure, but just a representation of him.

By the end, though, I resolved to purchase a copy of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and I’ve even listened through most of it. As I feared, most of the lessons of the film have quickly evaporated, but it’s indeed a remarkable work, even if I lack the detailed knowledge to properly appreciate it.

Back to the film: Ed Harris plays an excellent character – such a range of emotions; you want to see him succeed, you see how frustrated he is to have gone deaf, and his clumsy ways of coping. The film was noteworthy in the way it depicted the act of composition, and the impact that performance of orchestral pieces had on the audience of the day; if you resolve to see the film (and an interest in, if not an acquaintance with, Beethoven’s music is really a necessary prerequisite) then fight through the opening scenes with their frustrating camera work, and enjoy the rest as a possible fleshing out of the life of a great composer.

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