London, the night of 31 October 2019, the United Kingdom is about to leave the European Union. Ludwig van Beethoven is in town, or rather his spirit. He’s looking for justice, The Royal Philharmonic Society commissioned his Symphony no. 9, but fobbed him off with an insulting £ 50 fee.
This magical-realist work by the British film-makers Hugo Glendinning and Tilly Shiner, which is accompanied by live music, tells the fictional story of Beethoven’s journey to London, a trip which never happened. London is a city of extremes this evening, set on destroying itself. At sunset Beethoven is pulled from the mud of the Thames. He staggers through the streets, joining up with revellers, demonstrators and dispossessed. He drinks, smokes and gets thoroughly pissed off on his exhausting search for the Royal Philharmonic Society. Despite his ragged appearance, musicians, artists and dancers reassure him that his legacy lives on: in Trafalgar Square a woman in mourning whispers the ‘Ode to Joy’, later an arrangement of a violin sonata played by an angel on the banks of the Thames. Beethoven’s nocturnal journey ends at dawn, before the city wakes. The film's score has the semblance of a work by Beethoven, a ghost work arranged and composed by the British-Egyptian film composer Sami EI-Enany. It is performed live by Hanover's musica assoluta.