The Brandon Chamber Players kick off the month of February on Sunday night with a love story for the ages: a screening of "Immortal Beloved," starring Gary Oldman and Isabella Rossellini, and a live performance of Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 10 ("Harp").
A collaboration with the Brandon Film Festival, this concert — featuring Kerry DuWors and Rob Richardson Jr. on violins, Gregory Hay on viola and Leanne Zacharias on cello — offers the unique experience of having Beethoven’s passionate music brought to life both on and off the screen.
"Immortal Beloved" follows composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s secretary, Anton Schindler (Jeroen Krabbé), as he attempts to ascertain the identity of the Unsterbliche Geliebte (Immortal Beloved) whom he discovers in the late composer’s private papers.
Schindler travels throughout the Austrian Empire interviewing women who are potential candidates. Footage of Beethoven’s tumultuous life, from his younger years until his death, is featured as the film progresses.
Of the movie, New York Times’ film critic Janet Maslin wrote: "Thanks to its hugely effective use of Beethoven’s most thrilling, tumultuous music, this film exerts much the same hypnotic power. (Oldman) captures Beethoven as a believably brilliant figure struggling with his deafness and other demons."
Though probably known best for his stormy music and temperament, Beethoven was also capable writing music of great lyricism and gentle beauty. While the film makes much of Beethoven’s tumultuous side, the Chamber Players performance of "String Quartet No. 10" will highlight a more serene side of the composer.
Though the music is not strictly autobiographical, scholars have speculated as to whether the gentler, more restrained character of the quartet was inspired by a love affair, perhaps even with the Immortal Beloved herself.
Beethoven scholar Joseph Kerman calls the work one that is "ostentatiously at peace with itself," marked by "an unintellectual feeling of inspired spontaneous play."
Could it be that Beethoven really did know how to have a good time? The chamber players invite you to come and see for yourself.
Sunday’s concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Evans Theatre on the Brandon University campus. Tickets will be available at the door on the night of the concert (7 p.m. rush seating), or in advance at the School of Music office 204-727-9631. Seating is limited, so advanced purchase is strongly recommended.
Tickets are $20 for adults and seniors, $10 for students. The concession stand will sell popcorn and candy and drinks for $2 each.
For more information, visit brandonchamberplayers.com.
The Brandon Chamber Players are grateful for the support of Forman Honda and the Manitoba Arts Council for making this concert possible.