Abu Dhabi: Ludwig van Beethoven’s music has been delighting audiences for hundreds of years, and will continue to captivate music fans when his famous 9th Symphony is performed live by the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra at the du Arena in Abu Dhabi on February 5 as part of the Abu Dhabi Classics 2020 series.
Over 100 musicians and 70 vocalists will combine on the night to perform one of the world’s best-known pieces from the classical music canon. While some experts can immediately tell the difference between Beethoven and other great composers, we can all identify classical pieces that the German composer Beethoven wrote, feeling the nostalgia every time we hear these pieces as they evoke memories of blockbuster movies or pop songs we grew up listening to.
Beethoven’s 9th Symphony has featured in no less than seven films, including Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 dystopian classic A Clockwork Orange and Dead Poets Society, the 1989 coming of age drama featuring Robin Williams, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, as well as Bruce Willis action flick Die Hard (1988) and even Jim Carrey’s goofball comedy Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994). The wide variation in movie genre that adapted Beethoven’s 9th Symphony highlights the timeless message and values the German composer covered when he released his last Symphony in 1824.
Symphony No.9 is not the sole Beethoven piece to find its way into modern day cinemas. His symphony No3 featured on Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation, while Symphony No.5 accompanies John Hughes’ teen drama The Breakfast Club (1985), as well as Academy award-winning romantic drama Howards End (1992), comedy Goldmember (2002) and Charlie Brown and the gang in The Peanuts Movie (2015).
Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.8 has featured in The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) and Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) among others while Für Elise, which was published 40 years after his death in 1867, features in a wide variety of movies – from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), through to Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012), Patch Adams (1998) and cult horror Rosemary’s Baby (1968).
In addition, the cinema industry celebrated the life and talent of Beethoven in Immortal Beloved of 1994. Director Bernard Rose sampled some of the greatest pieces that Beethoven produced throughout his life to complement the plot of the biography film.
Away from the big screen, Beethoven’s works have featured in contemporary music, with hip hop artists Wu Tang Clan sampling Sonata No. 8 Pathétique in Impossible (1997) and rapper Nas using the Für Elise in I Can (2002), with British electronic dance duo The Chemical Brothers incorporating the Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-flat Major for The Salmon Dance (2007).
Billy Joel’s This Night (1983) uses the same melody as Beethoven’s Sonata no.8 Pathétique while the late, great Beatles legend John Lennon also revealed that Abbey Road track Because was put together after listening to the Moonlight Sonata with Yoko Ono.