Copying Beethoven

Copying Beethoven

3.5 4
Director: Agnieszka Holland

Cast: Agnieszka Holland, Ed Harris, Diane Kruger, Matthew Goode


When a young Vienna Music Conservatory student and aspiring composer accepts a job as a copyist for Ludwig von Beethoven, she soon finds her destiny forever interlinked with that of the legendary classical musician in director Agnieszka Holland's romantic period drama. Beethoven (Ed Harris)'s "Ninth Symphony" is about to make its historical debut, but Beethoven's…  See more details below


When a young Vienna Music Conservatory student and aspiring composer accepts a job as a copyist for Ludwig von Beethoven, she soon finds her destiny forever interlinked with that of the legendary classical musician in director Agnieszka Holland's romantic period drama. Beethoven (Ed Harris)'s "Ninth Symphony" is about to make its historical debut, but Beethoven's publisher Herr Schlemmer is dying of cancer. Now in desperate need of a copyist to complete the score, the ailing Schlemmer enlists the aid of ambitious student Anna Holz (Diane Kruger); who readily accepts the job despite an explicit warning that the composer is a callous wretch. As Anna begins the arduous process of copying Beethoven's career-defining work, her soul-stirring kindness causes the composer to view their collaboration as a blessing that will enable him to produce some of the most sublime music ever created. When Anna works up the courage to show Beethoven some of her own work, however, his thoughtless derision of the composition causes his sensitive assistant to abandon their current collaboration. Subsequently determined to flee Vienna and marry her devoted paramour Martin, Anna is quickly tracked down by Beethoven and forced to choose between love and duty.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Region Code:

Special Features

Audio commentary by actor Ed Harris and director Agnieszka Holland; Deleted scenes with optional commentary by Agnieszka Holland; Orchestrating Copying Beethoven featurette

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ed Harris Ludwig Van Beethoven
Diane Kruger Anna Holz
Matthew Goode Actor,Martin Bauer
Joe Anderson Actor,Karl
Bill Stewart Actor
Phyllida Law Actor
Ralph Riach Actor,Wenzel Schlemmer
Nicholas Jones Archduke

Technical Credits
Agnieszka Holland Director
Caroline Amies Production Designer
Ernst Goldschmidt Executive Producer
Marina Grasic Executive Producer
Andreas Grosch Executive Producer
Simon Hayes Sound/Sound Designer
Sidney Kimmel Producer
Jan Koerbelin Executive Producer
Jan Körbelin Executive Producer
Alex Mackie Editor
David Pupkewitz Producer
Stephen J. Rivele Producer,Screenwriter
Maggie Rodford Score Composer
Ashley Rowe Cinematographer
Andreas Schmid Executive Producer
Christopher Silkinson Producer,Screenwriter
Michael Taylor Producer
Jany Temime Costumes/Costume Designer
Ronaldo Vasconcellos Executive Producer
Christopher Wilkinson Producer,Screenwriter

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Copying Beethoven
1. Maestro (Main Titles) [5:59]
2. The Best Student [5:45]
3. The Beast's Den [7:29]
4. A Sign [4:04]
5. Her Young Man [2:07]
6. Against the Clock [5:23]
7. The One He Dotes On [5:51]
8. By Force? [3:33]
9. A Great Opportunity [2:29]
10. Peaceful Hours [2:57]
11. Vibrations on the Air [7:32]
12. But Can You Conduct? [4:22]
13. Premiere of the Ninth [13:48]
14. A New Language [8:13]
15. The Voice Inside [5:51]
16. The Archduke's Competition [3:00]
17. Bridge to the Future [3:18]
18. What the World Thinks [3:09]
19. Finally Free [5:32]
20. End Titles [3:44]


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Copying Beethoven 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are many things to be said in favor of director Agnieszka Holland's ('Europa, Europa', 'Total Eclipse', 'The Secret Garden', 'Olivier, Olivier') COPYING BEETHOVEN as written from fragments of questionable truths about the composer's final years by Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson: the film is gorgeous to look at for all its candlelit sepia scenes and of course a pleasure to hear as the musical score is primarily excerpts of Beethoven's music, and for the towering performance of Ed Harris as the deaf, dirty, cruel, grumpy, gross Ludwig van Beethoven. There have been sufficient biographies of the master to set the facts straight and this particular viewer has no problem at all with the tinkering of truth in creating a cinematic story that might help to explain the idiosyncrasies of the old master composers. It is a movie to enjoy: it is not a true story for all its attempts to recreate the life of the composer. In COPYING BEETHOVEN the premise is that the 'hard of hearing' Beethoven needs a copyist to help him complete his Symphony No. 9 due to a premiere of the work in four days time. Wenzel Schlemmer (Ralph Riach), Beethoven's usual copyist, is dying of cancer and arranges for the best pupil at the academy to assist Beethoven. That pupil happens to be a female, one Anna Holtz (Diane Kruger), who arrives at Beethoven's filthy apartment and struggles to convince the composer that she is worthy of the task. Anna is in love with a bridge builder Martin Bauer (Matthew Goode) and finds herself devoting her mind and attention to Beethoven rather than to Martin. Beethoven has never married and instead is in love with his nephew Karl (Joe Anderson) who refuses to follow his uncle's footsteps and instead mistreats him by constantly begging/stealing money form him to pay his gambling debts. So with this cast of characters Beethoven proceeds to complete his now famous 9th Symphony with Anna's help. Beethoven is to conduct the premiere but must depend on Anna (substituting for the errant Karl) to sit in the orchestra and give him cues. The performance is of course greeted with rapture, but Beethoven knows his output is not finished and the remainder of the film deals with his struggle to write the Grosse Fugue for his final string quartet, a piece the public (including Anna) loathes but one that Beethoven recognizes as the bridge to the next advance in music writing. Reduced to self pity, Beethoven dies, but Anna is going to carry the torch for her hero... The problems with watching COPYING BEETHOVEN that will make those who know the facts of the composer's life stumble are many: Beethoven was completely deaf in his latter years, unable to hear his music much less conversations with people Beethoven did not conduct the premiere of his 9th Symphony but instead sat deafly in the orchestra not even able to hear the score at which he stared the gentility with which Ed Harris' Beethoven shows is in sharp contrast to the rascally and despicable behavior of the real man. But those facts don't lend themselves to a good story for cinema and the writers and director were wise to realize this. So forgive the straying from the truth and settle back for a very entertaining if factually irresponsible 'biography'. The musical portions of the film are so truncated that the music suffers, but that matters little to the impression Beethoven's 9th, even in soundbites, has on audiences. If for no other reason, see this film for the bravura performance by Ed Harris. Grady Harp
Guest More than 1 year ago
Perhaps others knew of history's music copyists, but I did not until seeing this outstanding film. The always superb Ed Harris is amazing as the brilliant Beethoven. His performance alone makes this "hidden" film a must-see. (You also will be compelled to purchase Beethoven's 9th on CD, if you don't have it already.) Wider distribution would have helped the movie too few were given the chance to see. It deserves 4.5 stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent depiction of how Beethoven was. It shows his struggles with losing his hearing and also his personal relationships.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago