on July 19, 2002
I am not greatly into classical music. My first introduction to this magnificent audio film was as a student of Film. We were having a lecture on Sound and our lecturer made us listen to the first 5 minutes of this film. I'd never heard it before, but never had I been so transfixed by anything. As the sound reverberated through our lecture hall, I was sold on it! I bought the casette of this film soon after. Yes, it is about Beethoven, and he certainly was some man....but equal praise goes to he narrators of this film, Stephen Ouimette and Nathaniel Moreau who(if I'm not mistaken), played the Uncle and Christoph respectively. The starting of this film is its piece de resistance! The sound of church bells, thunder claps, horse carriages, the tune of one of Beethoven's 7th Symphony, all blend together and create a rich atmosphere which is enhanced further by Stephen Ouimette's beautiful voice as he says, "Monday, March 26th, 1827. The North wind blows and snow billows through the air, thunder claps on empty streets. It is a day that will go down in history." It truly manages to make us feel the gravity of that moment, the day that Ludwig Van Beethoven died.
Nathaniel Moreau has given a really impressive performance as Christoph. The changes in his tone, his diction is perfect. It really conveys Christoph's plight, with its humour and sadness very well. All through the film Vienna, the city that the film is based in becomes a part of it, adding an atmosphere to it...Of course the film is replete with some of Beethoven's best pieces, 'Fur Elise', 'Moonlight Sonata', his 5th Symphony, to name just a few. The director has managed well to choose just the right pieces for the corresponding situations.
Eventhough this film is ostensibly made for kids, anyone who ignores it for that reason is completely daft! To conclude, I have only to say that this audio film is a must-hear! It's amazing all that it can manage to convey...it's as good as "watching" a really good film.
on April 21, 2001
This is the first of the music CDs for the kids - we have two boys aged 6 and 8 now. We've had this (and other in the series) for over a year now. At first, the kids loved the stories which provide a sense of history and place and keep them interested in the entire CD. Then, they started to listen more to the musical portions. More recently, it's been really interesting to see what they've picked up as we've listed to music on the radio. Time and again, they perk up when listening to a piece of music and surprise us by saying "That's Beethoven". Sure enough - they've picked up something about the style of music that's characteristic of Beethoven. Sometimes it's the snippet of music from the CD and other times it's just the rhythms that are characteristic of that piece. As a family, we all recommend this.
on August 21, 2011
The magic of this CD is that it is a story that perfectly blends together Beethoven's best known pieces with a moving and engaging story that sheds light into the composer's life. It is as enjoyable for adults as it is for children, which sets this disk apart from many of the others in the Classical Kids series, which unfortunately can be grating for parents to listen to with somewhat obnoxious characters aimed to generate laughter from young kids. I highly recommend this CD to introduce children to classical music and Beethoven's music and life.
on April 10, 2002
This CD is wonderful. In fact we just bought the companion book and my 7 year old listens to the disk in the car and now reads along in the book (with pictures). I can't wait to collect the whole series. We also have "Mozarts Magnificent Voyage" and the first time we listened my 7 year old would not let me go home until the disk was completed, so we drove around town for half an hour! If you like music or want your child to, don't miss this!
on July 28, 2001
This is another favourite CD of mine...I missed it from when I was three and four years old so much that I bought it again at fourteen. Perfectly synchronized with Beethoven's music, the story of the composer is told by a fictional but believeable character named Christoph, whom Mr. Beethoven comes to live with for a few months. Very well thought out and nicely arranged with the music.
on February 5, 2009
My 7-year-old daugher adores this CD. She listens to it every night before bed. She's now fascinated with Beethoven, and we've googled him to look at pictures, etc. She's now asking me things like, "What is a symphony?". It's prompted great discussions at our house about music, parenting (b/c of Beethoven's 'mean dad'), and deafness.
Highly recommended - great CD!!!
on July 21, 2000
I initially heard "Beethoven Lives Upstairs" over the campus radio station 9 years ago when I was in college. It was being played around Christmas time. This is a marvellous production centered around a young boy whose mother rents the upstairs room to the composer Beethoven for a short period of time. The story, if it is true, is apparently based on a series of letters the young boy had written to one of his uncles, detailling the daily events of life with Beethoven upstairs. As such, it is narrated in parts as a flashback mainly with the voices of the uncle and the nephew. The storyline is often amusing, and the background ambience has a rich fullness to the sound, which only enhances our appreciation of the music and time period. It is quite obvious that a lot of care and love went into the production of this hour-long audioplay. We also hear quite a lot of excerpts from Beethoven's works, which are masterfully performed.
This is the perfect introduction to Beethoven and his music for those unfamiliar with this great composer. Even for those who already know his music, this production is so delightful and enjoyable that they will listen to it repetitively, as I have done. The whole family will enjoy this audio CD.
on September 2, 2000
My two kids (ages 1 and 3 years) HATE being in the car. We put this tape in, and we all loved it. My 3 year old thinks it's funny that Beethoven writes on walls (so she's really listening to the story!), and my 1 year old is enthralled by the music. Quiet car ride, wonderful classical music introduction, interesting story...get the whole series.