Beethoven: Eroica (2003)





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Movie Info

British filmmaker Simon Cellan Jones directs the BBC drama Eroica, starring Ian Hart as Ludwig van Beethoven. Shot on digital video, this TV movie concerns the first performance of Beethoven's "Symphony No. 3" on June 9, 1804, in Vienna. Prince Lobkowitz (Jack Davenport) has invited all his friends to his palace to watch Beethoven perform his new piece with a full orchestra. Among the aristocratic attendees are Count Dietrichstein (Tim Pigott-Smith), Countess Brunsvik (Claire Skinner), and composer Josef Haydn (Frank Finlay). The actual musical score is performed by the Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique, under the direction of John Eliot Gardiner. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi
Drama , Musical & Performing Arts
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Critic Reviews for Beethoven: Eroica

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Audience Reviews for Beethoven: Eroica

If you don't mind hearing the entire first movement and more of the Eroica Symphony and the astonishment of the guests and musicians, go ahead and HEAR as much as see this film. Don't expect the movie Amadeus (about Mozart) to jump out at you. This is more of a short subject film. Eroica is a BBC television film that dramatises the first performance of Beethoven's third symphony, the Eroica. It carries the tagline 'The day that changed music forever'. [img][/img] Beethoven This film picks up by the playing of what Beethovan proclaims will be something new, off the charts so to speak. And it is, to our illustrious prince and dignitaries. His Eroica 3rd Symphony is faced with a resounding NO. Undeterred, Beethoven rejects such rubbish and moves on. His divorced lady friend has children who need monetary support which she does not think is enough. Plus, she is not a fan of his music, this Eroica piece in particular. It's too violent she admits. Well, it is, compared to the bland, inoffensive tunes society is then accustomed to. [img][/img] The woman who said NO to marriage to Beethoven and not because she did not love him Ludwig B. is portrayed here as a volitile young man who needs to apologize for his outbursts. He is denied wedding a noblewoman because he himself is not of royalty. You see a very upset Beethovan who is tired of the heirarchy of the day. [img][/img] The man who totallt dismissed Eroica, The Third Symphony. Beethoven is championed by no less than an aging Joseph Hayden, well respected by the court of the day. You can see the dawning of new musical day in this Austria-Hungarian mansion, something Hayden knows is washing over him as he watches. Everything, he admits openly, is NEW from today. [img][/img] The prince who sponsored Beethovan's new work, Eroica and his wife who loved everything new! The BBC has given Beethoven a beautiful romance filled film with period instruments, but it's not a birth-to-death biographical drama like Amadeus, but a short piece of the composer's life revolving around Ludwig's Eroica Symphony which is, after all, just what it is titled. I enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Give my regards to Ludwig. SEE the entire movie Eroica here: REVIEWS by those like us: 100% This is not a movie chiefly concerned with music, rather its chiefly concerned with the imperative of enlightenment and progress in a time like this; ... 100% Excellent film. Must see. Great interpretation too. [img][/img] The servants caught admiring each other NOTES: 1 The music was played by Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique and conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner. It won the Prix Italia for Performing Arts in 2004. The main cast: Ian Hart - Ludwig van Beethoven Tim Pigott-Smith - Count Dietrichstein Jack Davenport - Prince Franz Lobkowitz Fenella Woolgar - Princess Marie Lobkowitz Claire Skinner - Countess Josephine von Deym Lucy Akhurst - Countess Teresa von Brunswick (Josephine's sister) Frank Finlay - Joseph Haydn Leo Bill - Ferdinand Ries Peter Hanson - Wranitzky (leader of the orchestra in the film and of Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique) Robert Glenister - Gerhardt (one of the prince's servants) Anton Lesser - Sukowaty (Beethoven's copyist). Directed by Simon Cellan Jones Produced by Liza Marshall Written by Nick Dear Music by Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Release dates 2003 Running time 129 minutes Language English [img],-Op.-55-(Eroica).jpg[/img]

monsieur rick
monsieur rick

This film overlays a performance of Beethoven's 3rd symphony with a bit of imaginative history of what the very first performance of this symphony might have been like. Hard to get away with a movie with no plot, no special effects, and almost no characters, scenery or dialogue. Yet this movie does just that based on its soundtrack, and the artful use of close-up shots that display the emotion one of Beethoven's masterpieces brings to its listeners. An homage to one of the greatest revolutions in music.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

When I was a child, I studied music theory at camp every summer, that in addition to learning bits of it over the school year. Well--that's one of the things they teach young musicians. Most grade school music classrooms of my experience include large posters of the major composers of the various eras of musical history. You know, Bach for the Baroque and so forth. And what was always drilled into our heads was that Ludwig van Beethoven was a member of two eras. He was both Classical and Romantic. I suppose many of us assumed that it was because of when he lived. I don't think it was generally explained that he [i]created[/i] the Romantic era, that it is, by many, considered to date from the first performance of this, his Third Symphony, the Eroica. This is not about the first performance. This is about the first rehearsal, arguably a better landmark. Beethoven (Ian Hart) is showing his completed work to various of his noble patrons, including Prince Franz Joseph Maximillian Lobkowiz (Jack Davenport) and his wife (Fenella Woolgar). The prince has gathered an orchestra according to Beethoven's specifications, and this is to be a demonstration of the piece as much as a rehearsal. Of course, that's horrible, musically. I've sight-read music in my time, and generally, the orchestra muddles through. However, when I did it--when we as a group did it--there were all sorts of mangled notes and horrible foulings of the rhythm--and the music we played through was always [i]far[/i] simpler than the Eroica. Generally, when a group is called upon to play a work for the first time, there is much starting and stopping, much going back over various phrases. About the only times I've ever played a work all the way through the way this orchestra is shown to do is when that was what the competition required. What's more, the music we played was not as revolutionary as the Eroica would have been to these men. Beethoven would have [i]expected[/i] uncertainty, even complete breaking down. Oh, there's other plot to this story--Beethoven's proposal to Josephine Deym nee Brunsvik (Claire Skinner), for example. The appearance of Haydn (Frank Finlay). And, always, the discussion of Napoleon. The discussion among the musicians and how it differs from the discussion among the nobles. Beethoven's belief that Napoleon will be a saviour of the poor, an inspiration to the masses. In 1803, it was still possible for Beethoven to believe that. This is not a conventional story. In place of dialogue, for most of the film, we have music--but what music! I think perhaps you must have a certain amount of musical training to understand how revolutionary this piece is. I don't know if the average person can get it from just comparing Mozart, or even the earlier Beethoven, to the Eroica. However, as Haydn himself observed, music was never to be the same again.

Edith Nelson
Edith Nelson

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