Who would have thought that a documentary about Beethoven would be so popular? We tried to get tickets to sold-out sessions of In Search of Beethoven twice before we finally managed to get seats.
First things first – I am a great admirer of Beethoven. I love his passionate wildness, the musical innovations he developed and the conventions he disregarded, the beauty and complexity of his melodies and the fact that he overcame a handicap to become one of the pillars of classical music (along with Haydn and Mozart). So I was pretty much converted to In Search of Beethoven even before the film started. I would have been happy if it’d just been two hours of Beethoven’s music and a blue screen.
RM on the other hand is a classical music novice, so really this film review should be coming from his more objective perspective. His conclusion – it was very educational, very interesting but very long. The documentary runs for over two hours and contains over 60 live performances interspersed with expert commentary from musicians, conductors, musicologists and Beethoven academics. It covers the beginning to the end of Beethoven’s life in chronological order and uncovers little factoids about his life which makes this genius more human.
In Search of Beethoven is not necessarily a film just for classical music fans, but you do need to want to learn about Beethoven to sit through the deep analysis of Beethoven’s personality and his works. For my part, I think his history is fascinating and the music is gorgeous, so it’s well worth the time.