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In Search of Beethoven (2009)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography, Music | 10 July 2009 (USA)
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The first truly comprehensive feature length cinema documentary ever made about Beethoven. With over 60 live performances.


Phil Grabsky



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Credited cast:
Emanuel Ax Emanuel Ax ... Himself
Jonathan Biss Jonathan Biss ... Himself
Riccardo Chailly Riccardo Chailly ... Himself
Alban Gerhardt Alban Gerhardt ... Himself
Hélène Grimaud Hélène Grimaud ... Herself
Janine Jansen Janine Jansen ... Herself
Roger Norrington Roger Norrington ... Himself
Ilona Schmiel Ilona Schmiel ... Herself
Juliet Stevenson ... Narrator
Lars Vogt Lars Vogt ... Himself


The first truly comprehensive feature length cinema documentary ever made about Beethoven. With over 60 live performances. Written by Seventh Art Productions

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'The one film you need to see on Beethoven'


Not Rated | See all certifications »


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Release Date:

10 July 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beethovenia etsimässä See more »


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User Reviews

Great music, but less than revealing documentary
18 July 2009 | by mrgkSee all my reviews

It must be an exceptionally rare person, who is not moved by Beethoven's music. Thus, a film, like this, that includes lots of his music, in some very good performances, is bound to please many. However, it did not live up to the advertisement, which drew me to the Siskel Film Center to see Grabsky's opus, and which promised new insights into the life of this musical god. I think that the film tries to cover too much, and ends up being fragmentary and rehashing old ground. Even a film that is 139 minutes long, cannot adequately encompass most of Beethoven's life and music, as this documentary attempts to do. There are a few revealing insights, like the story of the young Beethoven's attempt to con his teacher, Haydn, into interceding with the Elector of Bonn to increase Beethoven's stipend, when he was studying in Vienna. But even this (new to me) story is not used to try to explain more about Beethoven. For the most part, this is a static film, that relies on talking heads and interminable footage of Beethoven's familiar portraits. One of the few talking heads, who actually has interesting things to say about Beethoven's music, and who also reveals himself as a very human, self-deprecating artist, is Emanual Ax. Too many others offer no special insights, and only mouth the same tired platitudes. In summary, this film is enjoyable for the music, but don't expect to learn many new insights about this great composer.

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