Music series: Final Concerto dedicated to Beethoven
All of these films are almost like a concert with high quality music interspersed into the well scripted narrative.
In this documentary by Phil Grabsky, who previously made In Search of Beethoven, Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes talks about the concertos with great enthusiasm and expert knowledge – from the composer’s lively, virtuoso young works (numbers 1 and 2) to the epic, highly original last three. In these ambitious works full of daring innovations, we can hear Beethoven struggling with his increasing deafness as feelings of desperation, isolation and suffering vie with celebrations of freedom, both in a musical and a political sense. Grabsky intersperses Andsnes’s insightful reflections with passages from Beethoven’s letters on subjects including money (and the lack thereof), health problems and love.
During four years, Andsnes dedicated himself completely to Beethoven (1770-1827), whom he sees as the greatest composer of all time. Concentrating completely on one composer allows him to go deeper, with the ultimate goal of reaching a better understanding of his music. During those four years, Andsnes recorded the five piano concertos with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra – directing from the piano – and followed them up with a world tour. Andsnes also played Beethoven’s chamber music, from the Kreutzer Sonata (with talented violist Vilde Frang) to the piano sonatas. The emphasis is on the piano concertos, which Andsnes describes as “magical pieces”.
EXHIBITION ON SCREEN is re-releasing exclusively these films to mark the Year of Beethoven celebrating his 250th birthday.
UK 2015, 92 min, exempt
Directed by Phil Grabsky