It is not as simple as the introduction infers. In order for the musical score of a film to add a sense of immersion and dynamism to the viewer's experience, it has to merge flawlessly with other, crucial elements of cinematography. Unfortunately, for "Beethoven Lives Upstairs" the music of the master is sometimes used to mask other, less well constructed areas of filming. For example, the score often hides inconsistencies in the verbal story: in the introduction the Narrator tells the viewer that:
Presented without the distraction of the music which intersperses the scene with flawless elegance, the two statements regarding the weather seem ludicrous. Yet the "hook" of this particular scene is the powerful and evocative musical form, and for many viewers at least, they are too enthralled by the music to notice the inaccuracy.
That being said, it is all too easy to simply focus on the negative aspects of the film. Unsurprisingly, in a film about Beethoven one would expect the music to powerfully develop and contribute to the strength of the plot. By and large, it manages to achieve this. For example, the fictional Beethoven is sent out into the wet, stormy Vienna night, apparently just to make room for the storm passage from the Sixth Symphony. He does so without much build up in terms of plot; but thanks to the music it attains a certain status as being an overwhelming moment in the film; for Beethoven it marks the moment where he realises the power of his own capabilities-the powerful, evocative key supplements this moment perfectly: in technical terms the functional harmony, leading to the cadences' serve as a mini build up as the score plays out. This happens all while Beethoven is in the Vienna storm, metaphorically trying to discover the depth of his musical ability. It is unquestionably one of the film's strongest moments with regard to how the music supplements the plot
In terms of musical quality, the sound engineers generally manage to accurately replicate the beauty of Beethoven's work. Identifying the timbre, or tone colour, is a task easily accomplished thanks to the sharp, crisp sound of the orchestra, conducted by Walter Babiak. The orchestra manages to produce a full symphonic sound. Four vocalists are also used-most frequently in the Ninth Symphony. Use of a synthesizer was also noted as well as violin and flute solos. The pianist, who appears in the credits as simply "D Bodle" performs exquisitely as he alters musical form in performances of diminutive pieces, sonata and concerto movements. Sometimes, he is let down as it is hard to identify the exact pitch and rhythm he was trying to achieve, due to what appears to be dubious microphone placement which creates a dull, muffled sound; when it should resonate clearly and assertively. Sound effects abound, adding wonderful sparkle and drama to the story, making listeners feel as if they are right in the streets of nineteenth-century Vienna.
In Conclusion, the film "Beethoven Lives Upstairs" manages to portray a relatively accurate portrait of, albeit a relatively small excerpt, the composer's life. The strength of the music is undeniably the films greatest asset. Where