Friday, October 26, 2007

Copying Beethoven

I just finished watching Copying Beethoven, which suffered from being historically inaccurate, having a horrible script, and having actors and actresses who spoke in a stilted style to suggest that the film was set "back then" in a "foreign" place. The costumes and sets were excellent though, as was the camera work. Ed Harris, the actor who played Beethoven, even managed to look plausible playing the violin. He was shirtless (he was for a good chunk of the movie), and if there were a set of other arms and hands playing the subject of the Grosse Fugue on the violin, I didn't see them. The piano he used sounded pretty authentic, but the representation of him as being someone who could not hear was very inauthentic.

Musically speaking, the movie had some excellent performances. The Kecskeméti chorus and orchestra played a great "hearer's digest" version of the 9th Symphony, but the addition of the pseudo-love interest copyist, who reminded me a little of Tinker Bell, sitting in the middle of the orchestra showing Beethoven what he should be doing as a conductor, made it hard to appreciate the excellent camera work and enjoy the performance of the piece.

I wish that the DVD had larger print in the credits so that I could have read that the excellent string quartet was the Takács Quartet (I had to consult Amazon). The IMDb lists all the drivers, gaffers, and boom operators, but they neglect to list the real stars of the film, the Takács Quartet.

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