Week 10 – Beethoven’s Blog

Posted on August, 12th 2021

Movies About Beethoven to Thrill Your Heart

We all like the movies! And we all love Beethoven! What could be better than three movies about Beethoven? I imagine many of you have seen the movie Amadeus about the life of Mozart. Many musicologists and scholars scoffed at it pointing to historical inaccuracies and distortions. Music history and literature was one of my minors as I worked on my doctorate at Indiana University. Let me tell you that this scholar absolutely loved Amadeus. I saw the flaws and liberties but so what?! It was fun and most importantly filled with such music! Such it is with these movies about Beethoven. Are they romanticized to a fault sometimes? Yes. Is who Beethoven is exaggerated? Somewhat. Are they emotional? Yes, wonderfully so in my opinion. So please enjoy them with a not too critical an eye and be blessed by the troubled lonely genius and his incredible music.

Immortal Beloved

This deals with the life of Beethoven. In about 1812 he had written a letter to his Immortal Beloved addressed only that way. Scholars have long fought over who she was. One of the themes here is the search by Anton Schindler, Beethoven’s amanuensis, to discover her identity and deliver the letter to her after Beethoven died. There is much true biographical material here – his troubled childhood, his hearing loss, his relationship with his nephew Karl, his loneliness, never having been married, etc. Another theme is the composition of the great Ninth Symphony. There is some wonderful acting by Gary Oldman as Beethoven. I’m sure you will enjoy this movie. I’ve seen it 6 or 7 times and I always do.

Available on YouTube, PrimeVideo, and Netflix.

Copying Beethoven

A young woman arrives in Vienna in the early 1820s to study musical composition, unheard of then. A woman composer!? Somehow she is introduced to Beethoven, a gruff old man. She becomes his copyist. A wonderful relationship develops – caring, difficult, respectful eventually symbiotic – all the while as he is finishing his Ninth Symphony. In a way the old saying holds true – “I couldn’t have done it without you”. I love this movie. The music! The ending is so poignant.

Available on YouTube, PrimeVideo, and Netflix.


Beethoven’s third symphony, the Eroica, in Eb Major is one of the most important pieces in all of music literature. It was revolutionary in its length, emphasis on rhythm, unusual harmonic relationships, but especially the depth of emotion and the showing of his soul. Sometimes somber and often comical we see here the preparation and first performance of this masterpiece. It’s reception was mixed at best by both the musicians and the nobility. The period costumes, period musical instruments, and performance style are fun and interesting.

Enjoy this one. It’s one of my favorites. Available on YouTube.