Thursday, 13 November 2008

194. Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Concerto no. 4 (1806)


Title: Piano Concertos 4 & 5 "Emperor"
Performers: Emil Gilels, Philharmonia Orchestra
Director: Leopold Ludwig
Year: 1957
Length: 33 minutes


The penultimate Piano Concerto by Beethoven is also one of the greatest ones, possibly second only to his last concerto. From the great and quite catchy melody of the first movement to the joyous last movement there is no moment which is less than brilliant here.

It is a pity that there are so few Piano Concertos by Beethoven because they very clearly get progressively better and more innovative. This one starts with a deceptively simple motif on the solo piano only to develop in a truly grandiose movement which lasts for 18 minutes.

The second movement works perfectly as a bridge between the two larger movements which dominate the piece. The last movement is eminently hummable with all the majesty and emotional depth of Beethoven's great works. It is in this that Beethoven is particularly good, making something at the same time majestic and emotional, before him majestic movements were always a bit aloof, now they are absolutely humanised. Another essential piece of music.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The Fourth Concerto was premiered by Beethoven himself at a private concert given in March, 1807 at the palace of his patron, Prince Lobkowitz. However, the public premiere was not until 22 December 1808 in Vienna at the Theater an der Wien. Beethoven again took the stage as soloist. This was part of a marathon concert which saw Beethoven's last appearance as a soloist with orchestra, as well as the premieres of the Choral Fantasy and the Fifth and Sixth symphonies. Beethoven dedicated the concerto to his friend, student, and patron, the Archduke Rudolph.

Krystian Zimmerman and Bernstein doing the last movement:

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