The 12 Best Documentaries About Beethoven

Oct 28, 2023 | Best Of, Celebrities, Music

Are you an avid admirer of Beethoven’s music? Have you ever wondered about the man behind the music? If so, then these documentaries are a must-watch for you. Here is a list of carefully curated documentaries about Ludwig van Beethoven, arguably one of the greatest and most influential composers in history. From his tumultuous childhood to his deathbed, these documentaries will help you gain a better understanding of the musical genius. From behind-the-scenes look at Beethoven’s tumultuous relationship with his family to an exploration of how his music has impacted generations of audiences around the world, these films have something for everyone.


1. Beethoven Documentary

Beethoven is a timeless musical genius whose influence and innovative style can still be felt in the works of modern-day composers. His prolific oeuvre has been celebrated for centuries, and his music is studied and performed by musician from all over the world. There have been numerous documentaries produced about Beethoven’s life, career, and work to explore his immense impact. Here are a few of the best documentaries about Beethoven.


2. Being Beethoven. BBC documentary celebrating this great genius.

Experience the life of a great genius. From the difficulties of his younger days to emerging as one of the most famous musicians in history, dive into Beethoven’s life with this BBC documentary. Uncover tales of a man who had to overcome extreme circumstances yet still managed to perfect his craft and create an abundant legacy. Follow his journey from humble beginnings to ultimate success and witness the impact he made on the music of his time. Beethoven’s story is one of perseverance, strength and musical genius.


3. A World Without Beethoven? | Music Documentary with Sarah Willis (full length)

Without Beethoven, the world of music would be drastically different. Even 250 years after his birth, Ludwig van Beethoven’s influence on classical and modern music can still be heard all around us. To explore this impact further, Deutsche Welle presents a music documentary featuring Sarah Willis. In this full-length documentary, viewers are taken on a journey to understand what the world would be like without Beethoven: from the state of classical music and its evolution to new heights, to the influence of his innovative ideas in other genres. This film shows how Beethoven’s musical genius has shaped the soundscape we all enjoy today.


4. BBC The Genius of Beethoven – The Rebel (Part 1/3)

BBC’s The Genius of Beethoven is an awe-inspiring documentary that delves deep into the life, works, and legacy of one of classical music’s most influential and respected composers. Part 1 – aptly titled `The Rebel’ – focuses on Ludwig van Beethoven’s early years in Bonn as he made his way through some tough times. We’re taken on a journey through the early influences that shaped his life and music, such as his troubled relationship with his father. Beethoven had an incredibly difficult childhood, but he still managed to make something of himself despite all odds.


5. Beethoven’s Ninth: Symphony for the World | Music Documentary

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony has been one of the most beloved and influential pieces of classical music for centuries. On the occasion of his 250th birthday, a special documentary film was created to honor this extraordinary composer. From passionate musicians performing brand new interpretations of Beethoven’s Ninth to interviews with experts discussing its lasting influence on culture, “Beethoven’s Ninth: Symphony for the World” is an intimate, inspiring exploration of this timeless masterpiece.


6. Beethoven’s Early Life: The Making Of A Musical Genius | Classical Destinations |

Bonn, the idyllic city in Germany where it all began for Ludwig van Beethoven, is now home to his descendents who still produce music and strive to keep his legacy alive. Berlin is a mecca of classical orchestras, ensembles and choirs who also honour his name with concerts throughout the year. But what can we learn of Beethoven’s early life? Classical Destinations has pulled together the most engaging documentaries and films that explore the making of a musical genius.


7. Keeping Score | Ludwig van Beethoven: Eroica (FULL DOCUMENTARY AND CONCERT)

Two hundred years ago, Beethoven changed music forever when he released his legendary Eroica Symphony. Capturing the essence of his own life experiences, this symphony was unique for its time – and still holds a powerful resonance today. Exploring what inspired him to create such an influential piece of art, we take a look at the life story of Beethoven, his deafness, his rivals and patrons, and why the Eroica Symphony is still so powerful. Filmed on location in Vienna and its surrounding areas, this documentary captures all of these elements to create a vivid picture of Beethoven’s life and legacy.


8. Great Composers – Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in the city of Bonn, Germany. He was quickly identified as a child prodigy by his father, who was also a singer and musician. As Ludwig honed his musical skills, he began to travel around Europe performing at various venues. His many talents enabled him to provide financial support for his family from an early age. Though his father was his first teacher, Beethoven studied with several renowned composers of the time such as Christian Neefe and Antonio Salieri.


9. 《BBC Great Composers》:Beethoven

Beethoven was a prodigious musical genius, born in Bonn while it was part of the Holy Roman Empire. His father Johann van Beethoven taught him to play music from an early age, and he quickly became renowned for his virtuoso piano playing under the tutelage of Christian Gottlob Neefe. In 1792, he moved to Vienna – a major cultural centre at the time – and began studying with Joseph Haydn, further strengthening his reputation as a master of music.


10. Beethoven’s Eroica – A film by Simon Cellan Jones – BBC 2003 (HD 1080p)

Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony is an iconic piece of classical music. On June 9th, 1804, this monumental work was first performed at the palace of Prince Lobkowitz with Beethoven conducting. As one of his most famous works, it introduced a new level of musical complexity and emotion to audiences. In this film by Simon Cellan Jones we attend the historic first performance of the Eroica. Through exchanges between characters, their words and expressions, we get a picture of how revolutionary this symphony was in its length, accents, and emotion. During an interval Beethoven speaks to Josephine von Deym about his romantic life.


11. DOCUMENTARY: Beethoven’s Ninth symphony

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is one of the most renowned and beloved pieces of classical music ever composed. It is a journey through emotions, from joy to sorrow and despair, all culminating in a stunning finale that leaves listeners breathless. From its first notes it grabs your attention and doesn’t let go until the final bars have faded away. A masterpiece of musical composition, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is an inspiring and uplifting work that transcends genres and time.


12. BBC The Genius of Beethoven – Love and Loss (part 2/3)

This two-part documentary series takes an in-depth look at the life of Ludwig van Beethoven. In Part Two, we explore his passionate love for Antonie Brentano and the bitter end of their relationship as well as his struggle to overcome his deafness and compose some of his most celebrated works. Through interviews with music historians, archival images, and performance footage, we uncover the story of Beethoven’s life and gain insight into the man behind some of the most influential music ever written. This emotional journey through Beethoven’s life will leave viewers with a greater understanding of his genius and humanity.

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David B