On June 9, 1804, Ludwig van Beethoven and his pupil Ries assemble a group of musicians to give the first performance of his Third Symphony, 'Bonaparte', to his patron Prince Lobkowitz and ...
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On June 9, 1804, Ludwig van Beethoven and his pupil Ries assemble a group of musicians to give the first performance of his Third Symphony, 'Bonaparte', to his patron Prince Lobkowitz and his guests, including hypercritical Count Dietrichstein, in Vienna. The piece provokes political arguments among players and audience as to whether Bonaparte is a tyrant, or, as Beethoven believes, a liberator. The composer is also rejected by his former love, the recently widowed Josephine von Deym, though the visiting elder statesman of composers Haydn pays him a strange compliment. Leaving the gathering, Beethoven confesses to Ries that he is losing his hearing and later he reads that Bonaparte has declared himself the French emperor. As a result he will lose all respect for Napoleon and will change the symphony's title to 'Eroica'.Written by
don @ minifie-1
Beethoven's assistant was Ferdinand Ries, pronounced "Reese." The name was pronounced correctly in the film but incorrectly spelled "Reis" in the film credits. It was Ries himself who told the story of his incorrectly thinking the horn player came in early. See more »
Finally, classical music gets the television it needs
For some puzzling reason, I never really "got" the Eroica, but thanks to this marvellous production I (and hopefully many others) finally understand not only why the symphony was so important but also why it's so good! The basic idea of the film is that Prince Lobkowitz's orchestra is giving the first performance of the symphony for the prince and princess, the composer, and a few guests. After a shortish buildup to introduce the characters, the orchestra begins - and carries on for most of the film. As the music plays, we watch the characters listening, and occasionally hear their opinions. There is outrage when a trumpet comes in at the "wrong" time; smiles at certain musical turns of phrase; frowns at how loud it is. This superb film marries a great performance of a great work with an intelligent effort to put the whole thing in the context of its time. It isn't a film for people who already know all about the Eroica, but for a viewer who doesn't know Haydn from Howard Shore it must surely be enlightening.
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