Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Beethoven Lives Upstairs

Beethoven Lives Upstairs

Fall 2003 DVD
Ages: 5 & Up
DVD Price: $19.99
Review:
This lovely tale based in fact and embroidered with fancy, is the story of Ludwig van Beethoven's stay as a boarder in the home of a recently widowed woman and her young son Christoph. Told from the ten-year-old's point of view, Beethoven is at first "the madman who lives upstairs," but later becomes a beloved friend, as the boy grows to understand the composer's genius, the torment of his deafness, and the astonishing beauty of his music. The centerpiece of the story, which is told in flashback, is the composition of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The production values are superb. Interiors are either drenched in candlelight or the dappled rays of the sun through festooned windows. But it is the music that rules this tale, as it should. Twenty-five of the composer's works are featured in the soundtrack. There is no better way to introduce young people to the majesty of Beethoven's compositions than to combine it with a story that will entertain them and even move them. The DVD also includes animated games that gently teach about music, art, and even the rudiments of playing the piano. Beethoven Lives Upstairs is a must-have; but beware, after seeing it, you'll want to go out and purchase the entire output of this legendary composer.
Erich Parker, APR   ©2003 Parents' Choice
Erich Parker has sung with opera companies and in recital programs around the world and regularly performs under the aegis of The Smithsonian Institution. In addition, he is a frequent guest speaker at schools and student organizations.


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