Almost certainly the finest performance ever filmed of this great work – Beethoven's Piano Trio Opus 70 No. 1, known as "The Ghost".
The work is a masterpiece, the performance spellbinding and the filming, in the words of the French film and opera director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, the most successful translation of musical performance onto the screen that he had ever seen. The filming took place in St John's Smith Square, London on the 12th of May 1970, before the onset of Jacqueline du Pré's illness and in the early days of the Barenboim – du Pré – Zukerman Trio, which promised to become one of the great Piano Trios of all time.
In 1808, the composer and violinist Louis Spohr was invited to a rehearsal in Beethoven's house of the D Major Piano Trio Opus 70 No. 1, known as the "The Ghost", and wrote of the occasion:
"It was not an enjoyable experience. First of all the piano was dreadfully out of tune, which did not trouble Beethoven in the least, since he could not hear it. Little or nothing remained of the brilliant technique which had been so much admired. In loud passages the poor deaf man hammered away at the notes crashing through whole groups of them so that without the score one lost all sense of the melody. I was deeply moved by the tragedy of it all. Beethoven's almost continual melancholy was no longer a mystery to me."
A film by Christopher Nupen