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Can You Do the Beethoven G Major Concerto Blind Test?

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58, was composed in 1805-1806, although no autograph copy survives.
The first movement opens with the solo piano, playing simple chords in the tonic key before coming to rest on a dominant chord. After a poetic pause of two and a half beats, the orchestra then enters in B major, the major mediant key, thus creating a tertiary chord change. This becomes a motif of the opening movement.

It was premiered in March 1807 at a private concert of the home of Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz. The Coriolan Overture and the Fourth Symphony were premiered in that same concert. 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.

Click to print the test sheet!

Tip: Listen to the video without looking and see if you can recognize who is who of the pianists! In random order they are: Backhaus, Gould, Aimard, Gilels, Fleisher, Pletnev, Arrau, Haskil, Schnabel and Gieseking

A review in the May 1809 edition of the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung states that “(the concerto) is the most admirable, singular, artistic and complex Beethoven concerto ever” (Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, May 1809). However, after its first performance, the piece was neglected until 1836, when it was revived by Felix Mendelssohn.

Today, the work is widely performed and recorded, and is considered to be one of the central works of the piano concerto literature.

Print the test sheet and listen to ten famous pianists playing the beginning:

Who do you prefer and why?
Could you spot anyone blindfolded and if so, how?


Mitsuko Uchida Wins Her First-Ever Grammy

2011 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra:

Mozart, Piano Concertos Nos. 23 and 24
Mitsuko Uchida, Cleveland Orchestra (Decca)

Pianist Dame Mitsuko Uchida has just won her first-ever Grammy award. The recording, Mozart: Piano Concertos nos. 23 & 24, was released in the US on September 8, 2009 and is one in a series of recordings of Mozart concertos with Uchida planned on Decca. The Guardian wrote about this recording: “Admirers of Uchida’s fabulously fluent Mozart playing will know what to expect from these accounts; every phrase is elegantly tooled, every texture perfectly weighted … a rapturously beautiful disc.” Mitsuko Uchida has long been one of the world’s premiere interpreters of Mozart’s piano music both in the recording studio and the concert hall. She famously recorded the Mozart Concertos with Jeffrey Tate and the English Chamber Orchestra in the 1980s.

Recently, Uchida has decided to reconsider the works and now records them live with the Cleveland Orchestra in Severence Hall with the pianist also acting as conductor. This new approach in both logistics and style has yielded results which few could have imagined. “Mitsuko Uchida’s Mozart playing here is stunningly sensitive, crystalline, and true. These two concertos have been over-recorded, but this soloist and this great orchestra prove there is still more to say.” (Boston Globe – Record Review)

The next recording in this series, Mozart: Piano Concertos nos. 20 & 27, will also feature the Cleveland Orchestra and Uchida as both conductor and soloist and will be released later this spring.

Uchida said about the award, “I feel very happy about receiving this Grammy Award, especially because it is for the first recording in a series of Mozart concerti with The Cleveland Orchestra. These are people with whom I have a long association, so it gives me particular pleasure.”

Read more:
The 2011 Grammy Award Classical Winners

Here is an example of Uchida playing Mozart from a live concert during Salzburger Festspiele 2006:
W. A. Mozart – Piano concerto No 25 (Uchida, Vienna Philharmonic, Muti)


Bach – Solo Keyboard Transcriptions of Baroque Concertos

During his Weimar period, Johann Sebastian Bach composed a wealth of works. Among them are the 22 solo keyboard transcriptions of concertos by his Italian and German contemporaries: six for organ (BWV 592–596) and 16 for single-manual keyboard (BWV 972–987). The latter includes many famous baroque concertos by for example Vivaldi, Marcello and Telemann.
This collection of 16 works is now available for download from Piano Street’s online sheet music library in editions by Ernst Naumann for Bach-Gesellschaft edition: Bach – Transcriptions of Baroque Concertos

Glenn Gould performs the transcription of Marcellos Oboe Concerto in D minor:

Sheet music to download:


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