Music series: Fourth of four
All of these films are almost like a concert with high quality music interspersed into the well scripted narrative.
Just like all the other In Search ofs…. the film is jammed with prominent musicians and conductors, all striving to put across just how revolutionary Beethoven’s works were. They don’t just talk the usual documentary talk, they play the music to illustrate their points: expertise and passion combined.
Emanuel Ax, Hélène Grimaud, Louis Langrée, Roger Norrington and many others are heard describing how difficult this or that work is to play, speculating on how it must have shocked the concertgoers who first heard it two centuries ago, making educated guesses about what Beethoven’s creative process was.
The film dwells quite a bit on Beethoven’s growing deafness and other health problems, and on his frustrating lifelong search for female companionship. Direct connections between those troubles and his works remain sketchy, but that only underscores the man’s genius. This wasn’t a composer who was just translating personal torment into art. It was a human being who was operating on an otherworldly level.
EXHIBITION ON SCREEN is celebrating four of the greatest composers (Chopin, Haydn, Mozart & Beethoven) for the exclusive re-release of the award-winning In Search Of series, with a worldwide special event cinema screening to mark the Year of Beethoven celebrating his 250th birthday.
UK 2009, 139 min, exempt
Directed by Phil Grabsky
Juliet Stevenson narrates.