There is nothing more beautiful than Vienna in winter. The small wooden pavilions offering hot punsch and candy apples tempt the rushing people to have a break before they head to their homes to meet the Christmas Eve. An open skating-rink in the middle of Graben-street attracts the young aristocrats with the possibility to chat with the ladies. Everything is like in the pictures of an old illustrated book from the 18th century. Except for that this is just one side of the winter tale of the city.
Two gentlemen march quickly through the city center with no time to pay attention to the beauty around. They turn in one of the smaller streets and soon enough the landscape becomes totally different. The snow is falling quietly on the dark old houses, the beggars clump together as much as they can to keep warm. And while the two gentlemen pass by a copper statue of a boar, they see a barefoot boy, forever fallen asleep upon its back. None of the beggars around seems to be impressed. Scenes like this happen every day around they explain as the two gentlemen are trying to take the small boy off from the neck of the boar and to find out who the boy’s parents are. The shoemaker’s house is almost at the end of the city. While searching for it, beautiful music comes to the ears. The younger gentleman still heaving the breathless body of the child in his arms is rushed by the older one to follow the music in a dark entrance and through the rotten staircase up to a dark and mouldy attic, where the only light is the moonlight from the window. A blind girl plays on a worn piano. The shoemaker grieves silently for his son, while his blind daughter asks the elder visitor to play some music for her as a Christmas gift.
Sixteen years after playing Beethoven in “Immortal Beloved”, Gary Oldman undertakes the role again and partners with Joseph Fiennes in the role of Joseph Haydn and Claire Danes in the role of Beethoven’s blind muse to tell the touching story behind the composition of the Moonlight Sonata. Director John Madden (Shakespeare In Love) manages once again to deliver another interpretation of talent, provoked this time by the untimely death of a child upon the Christmas Eve and to show how a passionate genius is to create his masterpiece in the white season.
By Eliza Witte
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