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Immortal Beloved
Un Grand Amour de Beethoven
Le Neuveu de Beethoven Eroica Beethoven lives upstairs Copying Beethoven
An Immortal Spirit La dixième symphonie, by Abel Gance Moonlight Sonata Fidelio by Pierre Jourdan Ludwig van, by Mauricio Kagel Other films

Title... “Ludwig van”, a film by Mauricio Kagel – 1969

Soon after May 1968, Mauricio Kagel, an Argentinian musician, launched himself into film making. “Ludwig van” is the first of his productions.

Salle Musique The black and white film is intentionally dislodged, disturbed, disrespectful, even aggressive.

Here, there is no story. The film is constituted of a series of scenes, without connection between them. At the start we are in the presence of a half deaf Beethoven, represented in a subjective way, so that the spectator becomes the composer. Thus we tour the places where Beethoven lived: his desk, covered entirely with pieces of music; his cellar, storeroom filled with bottles of wine; his hay loft, where he stacks the scores of composers of the XIX and XX centuries; his bathroom, in which the bathtub is full of busts of... Beethoven, which we take one after the other.

The tone is striking: not a documentary reportage, not a biographical film or anecdote, Kagel provokes us, takes us by surprise, irritates us.

Then, we are present, in the confusion, at a laughable televised dispute over Beethoven and his music; an evaluation of his physical capacities, morales and phsychies of the music of Beethoven on the performers (this part is one of the more humorous); in one interview, in a field, of a descendant of Beethoven...

There are many other scenes, which cover subjects such as the hearing of the composer, the analysis of his skull, the course of musical television, the analysis of the texts of Beethoven (notably his conversation notebooks), etc.

The film ends at the zoo, by the scenes presenting the animals in the most stupid attitudes possible, indeed even scatological.

The music of Beethoven is reviewed with talent by Mauricio Kagel.

The film is available in "The Mauricio Kagel Edition"
(2 CD + DVD)

Le film Ludwig van
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Title... My opinion of “Ludwig van”

C This film reaches its first aim: it disturbs and certainly doesn't leave you indifferent. The lack of construction and the absence of logic between the scenes totally prevent the viewer from anticipating the following scene. Therefore it is impossible to personally invest in this work.

The film-producer ridicules again and again the characters of whom he deems too serious: the musicians whose emotiveness is overly shown, the analysist who draws the most surprising information from the most mild subject matter, the conservators and the collectors of “relics” of Beethoven, the pseudo intellectual television broadcasts, so on and so forth. If this foregone conclusion is rather exulting at the outset, we are quickly growing tired of the broken-winded demonstration.

Furthermore, Mauricio Kagel is a musician of talent and his adaptations of the music of Beethoven are very successful, indeed rather inspired. But what is to be said of the association of this music with these images? For example, to show an elephant which defecates at the same time as the chorus of the Ninth (one of the last images and I confess I was very sleepy at the time)? Certainly, Kagel is adventurous, and his film is a proof. But for to serve what end? That is beyond me!
Title... The score “Ludwig van”

The books of scores

Thanks to Armando...

There is also a collection of scores, created by Mauricio Kagel, dated 1970.

It is composed of photos of details of a fragment covered in musical notes (see photo above). There are some 45 scores in curious forms which Kagel offers to the imagination of the musicians.

Kagel's objective is to give the understanding that the interpretations of music of the past should be like music of the present.

Alexandre Tharaud takes on the challenge in the recording opposite.

Beethoven by  Maurizio Kagel
Harmonia Mundi - 2003

Dispo sur  Amazon


Many thanks to Melanie PIDDOCKE for her translation of this page from French into English
© Dominique PREVOT
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