Eroica is one of Beethoven's most misunderstood compositions but this fantastic production depicts the first performance perfectly. Ian Hart plays the genius as he was, scruffy, unkempt and bad tempered yet passionate about his music and suffering greatly. All the characters were well played, especially Haydn, and the music was sublime. Many of the happenings in the production, such as Reis shouting at the horn then getting told off, were based on true events. Pay close attention to the scene where the composer talks to the countess, when the countess refuses his proposal we can hear the beginning of the scherzo, as if it is being created by the pain Beethoven feels (also a bit of irony because scherzo means joke in Italian). Wonderfully made and a delight to watch!!!!!!
We may all know this piece, but to see the effect of this music on everyone from royalty to below-stairs staff lends insight into the music we could obtain no other way. The acting is awesome - there is a bit done by Timothy Piggott-Smith (Passage to India), perhaps a 60 second continuous take, that is Oscar-worthy all by itself and bears watching over and over, as the old warrior is overcome by the music's funereal second movement, perhaps recalling fallen comrades. Watch for it - it is overwhelming. And compare Jack Davenport in the role of Prince Lobkovitz here with his 180 degree role in (the real BBC) Coupling. Fennella Woolgar is superb as his wife. Key, much of the acting here is of necessity done with facial and bodily expressions only, since the entire symphony is performed. Watch what fine actors can do without a word spoken. The musical performance is satisfying, because the actual musicians, not actors, are the players, and are duly credited. It is interesting to compare this John Elliott Gardiner reading with his on CD with the same orchestra - I swear, this is better! The only flaw - some may find the Beethovenian romance angle a bit hokey, but apparently even it is based on fact. A superb add-on is the entire work performed without break; the spoken parts are replaced by a look at what appears to be the original score. Only the BBC could have or would have lavished such production values and acting talent on one complete Beethoven Symphony. We are just glad they did.
It is 9 June 1804. At the palace of Prince Lobkowitz, Beethoven is conducting the first performance of his Third Symphony, the Eroica. And through this film we attend the performance.
Through the exchanges between the characters represented, their words but also their expressions, we are reminded of the complete novelty of this symphony: its length, its unusual accents, its intense emotion and, of course, the disrupted musical rules.
During the interval, Beethoven takes the advantage to speak privately with Josephine von Deym. The romantic life of the master is then presented.
Haydn has the last word. When speaking of the music, he concludes: "From today, everything is different".
The camera moves through the orchestra, lingering on a detail, that we may participate in the music together with the musicians.
The film is remarkably well made.
Eroica - BBC - Simon Cellan Jones
Eroica was directed by Simon Cellan Jones, and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique is lead by John Elliot Gardiner.
Ludwig van Beethoven is performed with spirit by Ian Hart. He rejoices, he becomes sad, he catches fire, casting looks - severe or rougish - and his anger all show a very endearing and appealing Beethoven.
Leo Bill plays a Ferdinand Ries ill treated by his master. The women are played by Fenella Woolgar, as Princes Lobkowitz, Clair Skinner is Countess Brunswick and Lucy Ackhurst is Josephine von Deym. Jack Davenport is prince Lobkowitz and Frank Finlay is Jospeh Haydn.
Eroica was broadcast for the first time on Saturday 4th October at 21:15 on BBC2.
I should declare, up front, as usual, that I'm a [color=#AA2222]serious Beethoven fan.
I try to avoid excessive hyperbole, really I do, so please read the following as a seriously toned down version of what I think about this.
Since the ape took his first tentative steps on just 2 legs (accompanied, as I recall, by Richard Strauss), mankind was working towards the moment when Beethoven created this symphony - one of the seminal works in all creation. It's hard to get across, in this modern age, the sheer shock and awe (I've heard that phrase somewhere before) that this symphony caused - if you have the time and inclination I'd recommend you listen to a Haydn or Mozart symphony (any one will do) immediately before you listen to this - to get yourself into the mindset of the listeners of 1804 Vienna.
Aside from the historical context, this is an amazing work, beautifully performed, exquisitely and excitingly filmed, though personally I found "Beethoven"'s hand-flapping version of conducting to be somewhat annoying.
I was looking for a link to the score of Eroica, but I [color=#0000ff] found this, which includes the score, the music, explanations, historical background and all kindsa stuff - really worth checking out.
(Courtesy - me)
There are 2 movies in this torrent...
"Eroica - The Movie" - The movie (shock) complete with subtitles files in English, German, Spanish, Italian and French.
"Eroica - The Symphony" - Just the symphony performance by the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique lead by Sir John Elliot Gardiner.
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2009-02-24 19:17:39 +0000
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Any questions, thoughts, comments etc etc - please feel free to PM me.
(My upload speed isn't great, so please be patient - electricity permitting, I'm on 24/7)
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