The Beethoven Files

Ludwig van Beethoven’s work is legendary – and already was while he was still alive. He is famous around the world, and yet little is known about the conditions under which his music was composed. One thing is certain: he composed most of his masterpieces AFTER the onset of his deafness. When he composed his famous 9th symphony, he wasn’t able to hear a thing! A deaf composer? How is that possible? 200 years after Beethoven’s death, “The Beethoven File” casts light of one of the biggest mysteries of music history.

News

  • 11/2013 - Gebrueder Beetz at SoundTrack_Cologne

    Christian Beetz, executive director of Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion, presents the cross media format “The Culture Files” (Wagner + Beethoven) at SoundTrack_Cologne. The [...]

    Christian Beetz, executive director of Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion, presents the cross media format "The Culture Files" (Wagner + Beethoven) at SoundTrack_Cologne. The presentation starts Saturday, 23rd November 2013 at 4:30 pm. The congress of music and sound in films, games and media takes place from 21st to 23rd November 2013.

    SoundTrack_Cologne's Website


  • 11/2013 - Last chance to watch "The Beethoven Files" online

    For those who didn’t watch “The Beethoven Files” yet – the last chance to do so is tonight!

    For those who didn't watch "The Beethoven Files" yet - the last chance to do so is tonight!

    "Die Akte Beethoven" on ARTE+7 (German)
    "L'Affaire Beethoven" on ARTE+7 (French)


  • 10/2013 - "The Beethoven Files" on Arte tonight

    At the age of 31, Beethoven has to admit to himself that he is becoming deaf, the chances of a [...]

    At the age of 31, Beethoven has to admit to himself that he is becoming deaf, the chances of a recovery are slim. Seven years later, he composes his famous 5th symphony, other masterpieces follow. A deaf composer? How is that possible? We open the Beethoven files - tonight at 9:50 pm on Arte.


Projekte


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    The Zarah Leander Files

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    The Kleist File

  • kulturakte_serie_artikelbild

    The Culture Files (TV-Series, 5 parts)

  • Die Akte Wagner_artikelbild_neu

    The Wagner Files (TV)

  • wagnerwahn_app_artikelbild

    The Wagner Files (App)


The Beethoven Files

Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the biggest composers of all times – and wasn’t able to hear a thing for most of his career. In 1801, at the age of 31, Beethoven has to admit to himself that he is becoming deaf, the chances of a recovery are slim. Seven years later, he composes his famous 5th symphony, other masterpieces follow. A deaf composer? How is that possible?

“The Beethoven Files” explores this question and sheds light on the moving life and work of the outstanding composer. At his death, Beethoven leaves behind two documents: The “Heiligenstädter Testament”, a farewell letter which Beethoven wrote in 1801 – 26 years before his actual death. In it, he describes the excruciating symptoms of his disease in great detail. He begs for forgiveness for his uncontrolled behaviour, requesting future generations to find out the cause for his disease.

The second document the doctors find in his death room is a letter addressed to an “immortal beloved”. Beethoven carried this love letter with him until his dying day – and never sent it away. Until today, it remains a mystery who the immortal beloved could be.

Searching for clues, “The Beethoven Files” investigates Beethoven´s heritage anew. The biographer Jan Caeyers gives an insight into Beethoven’s mania-like work rage – his reaction to the onset of his deafness. The Viennese forensic scientist and university professor Dr. Christian Reiter examines a curl of Beethoven´s hair, searching for indications that point to the cause of his death and disease. Further experts are the conductor Simone Young and the pianist Lars Vogt.

In elaborately staged acting scenes, we discover Beethoven as a private person. Lars Eidinger slips into the role of the young composer, Pheline Roggan becomes the “immortal beloved”; together they let their secret love come to life again. High-quality animations illustrate the medical file and the painful procedures Beethoven put himself through, always hoping to be miraculously healed.

The film “The Beethoven Files” is one episode of the 3-part TV-series “The Culture Files” which will be broadcasted in October 2013 on ARTE. This novel TV-format tells European cultural history in the style of a crime-scene-investigation series. The vivid pace and investigative story line is designed to engage a younger audience with some of Europe´s greatest cultural icons. In addition to the TV-series, a graphic novel (Knesebeck Publishing House) and an App for tablet computers will published.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Lars Eidinger
“Immortal Beloved”: Pheline Roggan
Script: Hedwig Schmutte
Director: Hedwig Schmutte and Ralf Pleger
Director of Photography: Jürgen Rehberg
Camera Assistant: Jens Mattner
Animation Producer: Ali Soozandeh
First Gaffer: Martin Handrow
Gaffer: Artjom Antipin
Art Direction: Marc-Oliver Lau

Dolly: Hagen Raeder
Property Master: Jeremias Urban
Grip: Alexander Endrullat
Sound: Oliver Stahn

Sound Assistant:Karsten Höfer

Costume Designer: Andrea Schein
Costume Assistant: Viktoria Deibele
Make up Artist: Christin Lässig

Location Manager: Tom Kretschmar

Producer: Georg Tschurtschenthaler, Eva Schellenbeck
Production Manager: Kathrin Isberner
Production Assistant: Nick Pastucha
Technical Supervisor: Philipp Weigold
Production Supervisor: Sandra Zentgraf
Idea/Dramaturgy: Christian Beetz
Executive Producer: Christian Beetz
Commissioning Editor: Christiane Hinz (WDR)






Koproduktion

Arte G.E.I.L.E.

Kooperation

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Förderer

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  • The Beethoven Files

    Beethoven-House - Bonn
    04 September 2013 at 7:00 pm

  • The Beethoven Files

    Arte
    30 October 2013 at 9:50 pm

  • The Beethoven Files

    SoundTrack_Cologne - Cologne, Germany
    23 November 2013 at 4:30 pm

  • The Beethoven Files

    WDR
    20 February 2015 at 11:15 pm

  • The Beethoven Files

    SWR
    22 January 2016 at 7:00 am

  • The Beethoven Files

    arte
    02 October 2016 at 11:20 pm

  • Die Akte Beethoven

    WDR
    10 November 2017 at 7:50 am