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Topic: Beethoven, Piano Concerto no. 5 in E flat major op. 73, 1st movt.  (Read 15362 times)

Offline prongated

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...erm da Emperor w/ 2nd piano...first take, no splices, live.

Further list of excuses include setting up room for 'live recording session' instead of warming up, plus an accident involving LH 3rd finger and a door over the weekend...

I'm playing it for a comp. on da brotha's 180th deathday next Monday, so...criticisms and comments please! [a/k/a HELP!]
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Offline pianistimo

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oh wow.  this is really something!  i don't hear any problem with your lh third finger.  i shall be back in 10 or so with compliments.  i love your runs and articulation throughout - so far.  for the first time recording - you should be proud!

apparently cassedesus was a great pianist for mozart (but, i'd be curious to hear his rendition of beethoven's #5 PC). 

what i especially like about your rendition is that you don't get overly carried away with dynamics - but use them effectively.  i REALLY like your playing!

it would be easier to give crit if we heard the orchestra.  after all - it's a sort of duo thingy.  when i come back i'll just write what i find in my 'the piano concerto' book about this PC.  having a little background always helps a person play it better, imo.   

are you truly only 20?  you play with a lot of grace and insight.

Offline pianistimo

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ok. if you don't have this book - you have to get it.  michael thomas roeder 'a history of the concerto'  (it lists all the known piano concertos up to contemporary and gives some insight into the form and composition style and history of the PC).

from page 188:
'beethoven's PC no. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73, is the composer's most ambitious and is the culmination of his work in this form.  It was completed in 1809, the year of napoleon's occupation of vienna.  the war may have delayed the work's first performance, but more likely beethoven's deafness prevented him from performing, so he delayed its presentation until czerny could present it in vienna on 11 february 1812.  there may have been a performance a few months earlier in leipzig. 

the 'emperor' concerto  (the nickname is not beethoven's and the origin of the name is unknown) is in the key of E-flat major, the key beethoven associated with the expression of heroic and noble sentiments.  it contains march motives, strong melodies, and other 'military' qualities, but lack the shallow, bombastic virtuoso displays that had become popular among other composers of the period.  to be sure, the solo part is exceptionally virtuosic, abounding in such techniques as broken octaves and staccato passages doubled in demanding octaves.  but the virtuoso element is not shallow; beethoven uses it as a dramatic technique to develop the musical material.

many of the musical devices with which beethoven experimented in the fourth concerto are found in the fifth, but in a more developed form.  the soloist steps boldly to the front at the very beginning; the age of the virtuoso concerto is upon us.  the enormous first movement (582 measures of 4/4 time, allegro) begins with a decisive tonic chord in the full orchestra followed by a rhapsodic, improvisatory, cadenza-like passage for the soloist.  the subdominatn and dominant chords are equally decisively stated by the orchestra and embellished by the piano, leaving no doubt that this will be a work of heroic proportions calling for nothing short of a brilliant performance by the soloist.  the dashing, iridescent style of this opening was to be imitated repeatedly by dozens of nineteenth century concerto composers.'

Offline pianistimo

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'immediately following the initial 'cadenza' is a normal orchestral ritornello of approximately 100 measures.  it presents the main material, comprised of five distinct themes, all handled along the lines of the traditional concerto-sonata form.  the opening theme in E-flat major, itself made of three distinct rhythmic ideas (mm 11-17)is first presented by the violins in their low register accompanied by tremolando second violins and violas.  horns and lower strings reinforce motive c.  this theme is made the focus of the development with motive c the most persistent element (see strings, mm. 294-303; winds and piano mm. 304-311; and bassoon mm. 314-333).

the second subject undergoes several interesting variations throughout the movement, often changing from minor to major mode.  it is first heard played by violins in a staccato version, pianissimo, in minor (mm. 41-48), then is immediately taken up by horns and presented in a legato major form (mm. 49-56).  in the solo exposition this theme is first heard in B minor in the solo instrument over a delicate pizzicato accompaniment.  an ethereal enharmonic modulation to C-flat major, anticipating the key of the climax of the development, occurs before the orchestra gives out the theme, forte, as a march in B-flat major, the movement's dominant.  the same sequence of events transpires in the recapitulation, but the keys involved are C-sharp minor, D-flat majro, and E-flat major, and the latter, the movement's tonic, permits the use of trumpets and horns to enhance the martial character of the transformed theme.

the reentry of the piano in preparation for the solo exposition is quite effective.  the piano is reintroducted early with a rising chromatic scale passage over dominant harmony before the actual solo exposition begins, paralleling the early solo entry in the G Major Piano Concerto.  this surprise reentry is also used to mark the beginning of the development, at which time the chromatic scale is doubled in both hands.  another extrordinary place in the movement occurs following the traditional tonic six-four chord preparation for a cadenza.  but instead of leaving room for an improvised cadenza, beethoven composes directly intot he score a substitute passage for the soloist.  this passage incorporates the traditional trill on the supertonic, but the trill concludes in yet another surpise:  the soloist - NOT THE ORCHESTRa, provides the cadence and begins the substantial coda, which amounts to another recapitulation of the ritornello based on the second theme and succeeding material.  as beethoven's earlier concertos, the piano is present to the end.

as is true of many nineteenth-century concertos, the slow movement is comparitavely brief, since the tempo is not well-suited for virtuoso showmanship.  the adagio un poco mosso is in B major, the key of the first remote modulation in the first movement and the enharmonic equivalent of C-flat major, the emphasized key in the development section of the first movement.  the Adagio is delicately scored, beginning with muted strings and avoiding strong contrasts of orchestral sound.  the writing for the piano has a strongly improvisatory quality as the piano plays material based on the opening theme, often without clearly stating it.  the movement has the overall effect of a set of variations.

a magical and compelling moment occurs at the end of the slow movement.  here beethoven has composed one of his most dramatic links to a succeeding movement.  all instruments reach B-natural, the tonic note of the movemetns, which then sinks a semitone to B-flat, the dominant of the final movement's tonic.  over this B-flat pedal in the horns, the piano in adagio tempo hints at the finale's rondo theme, before it bursts out in the allegro tempo of the finale.

the allegro 6/8 finale is another huge movement based on a powerful syncopated theme, first presented by the soloist, as usual (mm. 1-4).  only one thematically contrasting episode appears, both times starting in the tonic and presented byt eh piano.  the huge middle episode includes three false-starts of the main theme in the keys of C, A-flat, and E major, and interesting sequence of lower thirds.  each of these false starts leads to a brilliant solo display.  the principal return of the rondo theme in m 328 is prepared by an echo of the final bars of the slow movement.  only here the piano plays the dominant pedal in trills, while the violins prefigure the theme.  the coda includes a stirring passage of seventeen measures for piano and timpani alone.

in the years immediately following the completion of the emperor piano concerto in 1809, beethvoen wrote little for the piano.  his last public appearance as pianist was in the same year.  his deafness may well have been the reason he turned away from the instrument for a few years.  but beginning in 1814 he again wrote intensively for the piano, completing his first sonata (op 90)  sincd 1809 (op 81 a).  in the following year he tried his hand at another piano trio and piano concerto.  neither of these was completed - only fragments and sketches for a concerto in D major remain.  the mighty 'emperor' remained his last completed concerto.'

Offline pianistimo

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not sure if you want this much info - but right before i broke my leg i was taking a class entitled 'the piano concerto' and gleaned some stuff from that, too.

i have these little pencilled notes here and there.  the first page i see 'grandiosity is harmonic with beethoven - tchaikovsky's is more lyric'  also, he called the first part a 'prelude' - the opening arpeggios are I  VI V I.  finally the orchestral exposition comes in at measure 10 and introduces the first theme.  (roeder's can take over from here)

the second movement (adagio un poco mosso) is a set of variations that contains similarities 'to the distant beloved' which is a song cycle that beethoven wrote many years after this.  (an die geliebt)

at the very beginning of this movement an interesting feature is that the bassi play a tri-tone!  B to F#.  this is very unusal.

at measure 46 - my teacher told us that the turn would be encorporated around the top note of the E? chord there.  so - it would be one note before the B (C#, B -written, A#, and B-written but played twice - here the second time).  so instead of playing the chord here 'plunk'  you play the C# with the chord first - and then the two B's inside the turn)

C# B A# B F# E. 

i can't believe i didn't mark the rest of the variations - but perhaps the roeder explains this better.  it's been a while since studying this.

Offline zheer

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  Very good, good luck.
" Nothing ends nicely, that's why it ends" - Tom Cruise -

Offline teresa_b

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Very nice!  This is extremely difficult (I have great sympathy, as I'm playing no 4 next month), and you have made it sound effortless.  I have no really serious suggestions.  You might look at the "music box" sections and other soft lyrical areas, and consider how you could make them even more beautiful--maybe an agogic stretch here or there.  Just a thought, the entire movement is so heroic--IMHO it lends a little breathing room to slow the tempo just a tiny bit in these areas. 

You will do great--Please post the other movements when you get a chance.

Teresa

Offline prongated

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Thanks for writing all that in pianistimo! Some interesting points - I've always thought "Emperor" is derived from the dedication of this piece to Archduke Rudolph [then somehow // emperor]...

Very good, good luck.

Thanks!

(I have great sympathy, as I'm playing no 4 next month)

...I looked to the music of no. 4 the other day...the runs look wilder than no. 5!
Anyway yes I agree with you on that "music box section"...will look at it.


Anything else I can work on?

Offline ihazapiano

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...erm da Emperor w/ 2nd piano...first take, no splices, live.

Further list of excuses include setting up room for 'live recording session' instead of warming up, plus an accident involving LH 3rd finger and a door over the weekend...

I'm playing it for a comp. on da brotha's 180th deathday next Monday, so...criticisms and comments please! [a/k/a HELP!]
:o :o ;I'm playin in a 'fest comp' tonite - fanks 4 rubbin it in dat I'm CRAP!! ;) no.... seriously...dat was amazin - I'm really inspired but av a long way ta go yet :' ::)

Offline ihazapiano

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...erm da Emperor w/ 2nd piano...first take, no splices, live.

Further list of excuses include setting up room for 'live recording session' instead of warming up, plus an accident involving LH 3rd finger and a door over the weekend...

I'm playing it for a comp. on da brotha's 180th deathday next Monday, so...criticisms and comments please! [a/k/a HELP!]
:o :o ;I'm playin in a 'fest comp' tonite - fanks 4 rubbin it in dat I'm CRAP!! ;) no.... seriously...dat was amazin - I'm really inspired but av a long way ta go yet :' ::)
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