calimac: (Haydn)
[personal profile] calimac
Much hoopla about the local production of Hershey Felder's one-man show about Beethoven. I'm interested in Beethoven, so I decided to go. I thought it was all right.

Based on a brief memoir by a doctor who, as a boy, had known Beethoven in his last years, it presents Felder as the mild-mannered doctor, looking back at his memories, often abruptly dropping into the persona of Beethoven himself, or of his own father presenting his memories of Beethoven's earlier years. Then, in one persona or another, Felder will sit down at the piano and play something, and not at very brief length either.

Though Beethoven the rough, coarse, revolutionary is not omitted, the focus of the show is strongly on Beethoven's gentle, heartfelt soul. So the pieces played at greatest length and with the greatest care and emphasis are things like the slow movement of the Pathétique Sonata, the slow movement of the Moonlight Sonata, the slow movement of the Emperor Concerto, "Für Elise," etc. These are all soft and beautiful, the antithesis of Beethoven's reputation though they're all well-known pieces, so it made a nice corrective.

Soft and fuzzy in its picture of the life as well. Much sympathetic clucking about how Beethoven tried (supposedly) lovingly to protect his young nephew from the clutches of his (purportedly) horrible mother, not so much on the psychological disaster area this struggle turned the nephew into. Oh well.

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