In Search of Beethoven
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"In Search of Beethoven": takes a comprehensive look at the composer's life through historical research and Beethoven's biography and letters, but with the emphasis always on the performance -- and interpretation -- of Beethoven's music. From his early piano concertos through the "Moonlight Sonata," "Für Elise," and the immortal notes of the Fifth and Ninth Symphonies, Beethoven's music remains as beloved, popular, and relevant as any work of art has ever been. "In Search of Beethoven" brings together the world's leading performers… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Tells the story of its subject in a clear, accessible, and gimmick-free manner while still preserving, or perhaps even cultivating, a core sense of wonder at the creative monuments he bequeathed to us all."
‑ Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe
"Grabsky's appreciation of Ludwig van Beethoven follows the familiar contours, but it pays attention to the humanizing specifics that bring us closer to the subject."
‑ Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"Illuminating bio of musical genius hits a few flat notes."
‑ Don Groves,
"An intriguing portrait of the man as a hopeless romantic, a smack-talking punk, a sickly individual tormented by his deafness and thoughts of suicide, and an "eternal optimist.""
‑ Shaula Clark, Boston Phoenix
"As good as the film is, Beethoven remains mysterious. He refuses to roll over, so to speak."
‑ Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald
"In Search of Beethoven trudges through the composer's life and works, pausing along the way for the usual smorgasbord of talking heads and performance clips. The results are shapeless, drab and mostly predictable."
‑ Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
"Grabsky does manage to convey how shockingly dramatic Beethoven's music seemed to the first people who heard it, and the musicians' sensitivity and articulation--both verbal and musical -- fire this chronicle of one man's extraordinary artistic journey."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"Puts far more focus on a Wikipedia-shallow explanation of the composer's various compositions than on his tumultuous life."
‑ Phil Hall, Film Threat
"There are too many snippets of music, too many talking heads, too little to define that great arc of the composer's life and spiritual development. But no one who cares about the man and his music will miss it. For that I give credit to its subject."
‑ Evan Williams, The Australian
"Despite its excessive length, this reverential doco will enthuse fans, historians and even those, like yours truly, whose familiarity with Beethoven is limited to the opening strains of his 5th Symphony."
‑ Gavin Bond, Sunday Times (Australia)
"With In Search of Beethoven, documentarian Phil Grabsky has created a splendid work that will be a revelation to the uninitiated and a joy to music lovers."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"What made Ludwig such a great musician? The documentary In Search of Beethoven, directed by Phil Grabsky, answers that question reasonably well."
‑ V.A. Musetto, New York Post
"[Grabsky] is documenting the life of Beethoven, he is illustrating the life with brilliant concert performers playing the music, but he is also having those same experts talking about what is in the music itself."
‑ Mark R. Leeper,
"Beethoven's creative life, with all its achievements, cannot easily be reconciled with the image of a difficult, solitary figure, shadowed by depression. Grabsky, to his credit, doesn't try to make one life fit the other, but manages to illuminate both."
‑ Philippa Hawker, The Age (Australia)
"It features over sixty live performances, and there are a few pompous musicians and musicologists among the interviewees. But the engaging ones comfortably outnumber them..."
‑ Mark Demetrius, FILMINK (Australia)
More reviews for In Search of Beethoven on Rotten Tomatoes