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Great Composers - Beethoven
Great Composers - Beethoven
Director: Jill Marshall
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
NR     2006     0hr 59min

For many people, musicians and laymen alike, Beethoven is the most admired composer in the history of Western classical music ? not only because of the intellectual rigour of his music, but also its expressive power. Beeth...  more »


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Movie Details

Director: Jill Marshall
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Classical, Documentary
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/26/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 0hr 59min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

"Music is the mediator between the spiritual and sensual lif
Stephen Pletko | London, Ontario, Canada | 03/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)


"Watch out for him. One day he'll give the world something to talk about."

This is the actual quotation uttered by the older Mozart when he was talking about the then teen musical genius Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 to 1827). It is found in this documentary that presents the life and works of Beethoven. Besides learning about the man behind the music, we get to hear, through actual performances, mesmerizing extracts of his powerful, dramatic music.

Throughout this documentary are brief comments by respected others such as conductors, pianists, violinists, musicologists, and Beethoven scholars. All comments are interesting and informative.

This film is narrated by the actor (known especially for his Shakespearean talents) Kenneth Branagh.

What amazed me about this film is that, despite being only an hour long, it covers an incredible amount regarding Beethoven's life. With the addition of actual performances of Beethoven's works, this documentary is thus incredibly enjoyable and not ever boring.

I will give Beethoven's principal works below and include a specific extract example(s) of such a work from this film in parenthesis:

(1) Orchestral music: nine symphonies (#6 "Pastoral," #3 "Erotica," #5, #7, #9 "Choral")
(2) Concertos: five for piano (#1, #2, #5 "Emperor"); one for violin (Violin Concerto in D); one triple concerto for piano, violin, and cello
(3) Chamber music: string quartets (#6, #7 "Razumovsky," String Quartet in B Flat); violin and cello sonatas; one quintet; one septet; serenades
(4) 32 Piano Sonatas (#8 "Pathetique," #14 "Moonlight," #23 "Appassionata," #29); violin and cello sonatas
(5) One Opera (Fidelio)

Finally, the DVD (the one released in 2006) is perfect in picture and sound quality. It has no extras.

In conclusion, for those looking to find a quick way to learn everything about Ludwig van Beethoven ("the second Mozart") and become acquainted with his magnificent music, this is the film to see!!

(1997; 1 hr; full screen; 11 scenes; made for TV)

Outstanding, but misses measuring the size of Beethoven's in
Gary D. Warner | Saginaw, MI | 10/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of seven installments in a superb series of DVDs on the great composers. An excellently crafted production, I found it very enlightening and entertaining. Beethoven's life, both public and private, his eccentricities, misfortunes, as well as his great genius and success as a consummate artist are covered quite nicely.

It also succeeds in explaining the revolutionary effect his innovations had in his time, that is, in breaking music's emotionally restrained convention, however, I believe it fell short in assessing the enormity of his impact on posterity. To me this aspect seemed only to be subtly implied at best. Was this inadvertent, or a conscious choice to steer clear of over-exalting the man, considered by many to be the greatest composer who ever lived? A debatable point, no doubt, yet with foundation enough to merit discussion within the time constraints and still do it justice. Indeed, there are those who seem to practically worship the man, yet I think there is room for more balanced discernment. Of the Classical period notwithstanding, to my mind, Beethoven at the very least stands as an utterly pivotal figure, igniting the passions of, and thus launching the Romantic era of music. His influence on every significant composer to follow him cannot be overestimated.

My recommendation of this offering nonetheless remains high. Very worthwhile. I only wish, SO MUCH, that this series had not stopped, i.e. had gone on to cover such important composers as Dvorak and Sibelius, et al!

During the closing segment, a film clip from the climax of a wonderful performance of Beethoven's Ninth is featured, but oddly, no one in it is identified anywhere, neither within the program nor in the packaging; undoubtedly an oversight, but inexcusable regardless. Fortunately, I recognized the conductor, the late great Maestro, Sir Georg Solti. Can anyone positively identify the orchestra and chorus, and the performance venue?"