Breaking Beethoven

Author: ORF-Enterprise GmbH & Co KG

The documentary, Breaking Beethoven, embarks on the quest for the lost Beethoven jubilee year with star violinist Aleksey Igudesman.

  • Breaking Beethoven | Copyright: © Music Traveler Productions

    Breaking Beethoven © Music Traveler Productions

  • Breaking Beethoven Aleksey Igudesman | Copyright: © Stefan Wuernitzer

    Breaking Beethoven Aleksey Igudesman © Stefan Wuernitzer

  • Breaking Beethoven John Malkovich | Copyright: © Julia Wesely

    Breaking Beethoven John Malkovich © Julia Wesely

Marked by inner turmoil, living in the shadow of the French Revolution and in the deceptive splendour of the Habsburg monarchy, Ludwig van Beethoven’s life was an eternal interplay between limitless creative power and uninspired treasure. As a stubborn lateral thinker, Beethoven uses the cliché of the deranged genius like hardly any other composer. His music is omnipresent to this day: it stands for man’s deep yearning for freedom.

So, it is no surprise that Beethoven’s anniversary year 2020, on the occasion of his 250th birthday, wanted to offer numerous events – from small house concerts to large symphony cycles. The aim was to carry Beethoven’s music out into the world. But how should one celebrate such an anniversary when a global pandemic is keeping humanity in suspense?

The documentary, Breaking Beethoven, embarks on the quest for the lost Beethoven jubilee year with star violinist Aleksey Igudesman. We encounter artists such as Hyung-ki Joo, Julian Rachlin, Valentina Nafornița and Georg Breinschmid as they have to redefine themselves in the course of the lockdown and learn to create a virtual stage for their audience. Strolling through empty concert halls, standing in front of closed opera houses, we can only imagine all those places where Beethoven’s music was meant to have been played. Beethoven’s traces through the city are drawn in interviews with stars such as Billy Joel, Hans Zimmer, Yuja Wang, Joshua Bell and Rebekka Bakken. So, the only question left is: What would be if?

Original title Breaking Beethoven
Production year 2020
Duration 52/30 minutes
Author Aleksey Igudesman
Director Barbara Weissenbeck
Production Company ORF, WDR and Only Hands Small OG



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