Oddly enough, before this album I had never really paid attention to Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO). This despite me being an ardent Savatage fan, with a particular affection for their concept albums "Streets" and the magnificent "Dead Winter Dead". Maybe this apathy could be accredited to my hatred for Christmas, I who consider the phrase 'happy Christmas' to be the ultimate oxymoron. But the core members of TSO are ex-Savatage dudes and therefore things are never as they seem to be... .
Before I go any further, let me get another thing off my chest: "Beethoven's Last Night" is a masterpiece of epic proportions! Probably no review can really do the album justice - you just have to listen to it for yourselves. Everything is so perfect: the production, the musicianship, the drama....ah yes, the drama. "Beethoven's Last Night" is a sort of Prog Metal version of Faust as possibly conceived by Andrew Lloyd Webber. You can't get any more dramatic than this, surely.
Prior to this album, TSO had released a series of Christmas-themed albums (hence my aforementioned quip on Christmas). In "Beethoven’s Last Night" Paul O'Neill and co. came up with a fictional account on the last night in the life of Ludwig Von Beethoven who has just completed the manuscript for his Tenth Symphony. He is certain it his greatest work. But, as the clock strikes midnight, Mephistopheles appears to collect the great composer's soul.
The album had already been released back in 2000 but only now is it being officially released for the European market. Not coincidentally, the album marked the beginning of the band's tour of Europe - something not to be missed, certainly.Thanks to TSO I can now associate Christmas with at least 1 positive thing!