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Starring: Ian Hart, Jack Davenport, Tim Piggot-Smith
Director: Simon Cellan Jones
|A stunning feature length BBC production based on the events of 9th June 1804, which saw the premier of Beethoven's Thrid Symphony (the Eroica) in a private performance for Prince Lobokowitz, some time prior to the work's public debut.|
Ingeniously, the work itself is played as live (and, may I add, quite superbly), while the camera captures the behaviours and reactions of key figures such as Beethoven (Hart), Lobokowitz (Davenport), Beethoven's love interest Therese (Lucy Akhurst), and Beethoven's tutor Josef Haydn (Frank Finlay) who remarks at the performance's climax that "everything is different from today".
The production does create a definite sense of something momentous taking place, with the reactions of the assembled nobles ranging from awe at the beauty of the music to irritation at Beethoven's "failure" to abide by symphonic conventions (in fact a genius moving beyond pointless traditions), and the Prince's servants at work in the kitchen being distracted from their work by the power of what they are hearing.
Though the symphony was intitially dedicated to Napoleon (until he angered Beethoven by declaring himself Emperor), this production indicates that the true hero is actually Beethoven himself, as this was the first time a composer was genuinely able to put his own soul into his work rather than working within the parameters set by tradition and aristocracy.