Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony

Each anecdote builds upon the next to create that rarest of films: a documentary as ineffable and transformative in its reach as it sets out to be.


Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony

Filmed on five continents and in 12 countries, 'Following The Ninth' is the story of four people whose lives have been transformed and repaired by Beethoven's message in his Ninth Symphony: Alle Menschen werden Bruder (All Men Will Be Brothers). At Tienanmen Square in 1989, students played the Ninth over loudspeakers as the army came in to crush their struggle for freedom. In Chile, women living under the Pinochet dictatorship sang the Ninth at torture prisons, where men inside took hope when they heard their voices. In Japan each December, the Ninth is performed hundreds of times, often with 10,000 people in the chorus, and now with a concert for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. The Berlin Wall, symbol of division and oppression, comes down in December, 1989, as Leonard Bernstein performs Beethoven's Ninth as an "Ode to Freedom."

Part road trip, part adventure story, 'Following The Ninth' is an inspirational film about Beethoven's Ninth, the power it has to liberate us, to shield us against suffering, and to provide hope and resilience for us in dark times.
Not Rated
Documentary, History
Kerry Candaele
Daniel Gold, New York Times

With the release last spring of a phenomenally popular iPad app, an exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum of the original manuscript, and now the documentary “Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony,” the Ninth seems to be having a cultural moment. Of course, that’s ...

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