CD BAM 2005
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The Talk of the World

the belair collection

Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15.  As a matter of fact, Piano Concerto No. 1, is not the first of Beethoven’s five chronologically numbered piano concertos. It was written in 1798 after Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 19.  Only because of the lower opus number has it been placed as the first piano concerto.  Stylistically both concertos belong to the period when Beethoven was active both as a concert virtuoso and as a composer- writing the works primarily for his own use. These concertos were greatly inspired by Beethoven’s contact with Mozart thereby incorporating many Mozartian features. It is more than likely that Beethoven himself played the C major concerto at its first public performance. The program of his first concert at the Vienna Court Theatre on April 2, 1800 seems to have included this work.  The General Musical Journal reviewed the evening’s performance with the comment: “At last Herr Beethoven, too, was given the theatre and this was easily the most interesting Academy for a long time. He played a new piano concerto of his own composition which is full of beautiful moments – particularly the first two movements.” This comment is especially significant because the third movement, allegro scherzando, with its accentuated theme wittily introduced by the piano, continues in what becomes a boisterous, effervescing and cheerful finale, thereby breaking completely from what one was accustomed to in those days. The first movement, allegro con brio, opens in a conventional way with a prolonged tutti that decides the slightly less original character of this opening movement.  The second movement, largo, is on the whole full of atmosphere, novel effects, and of a perfection pointing ahead to the already mentioned brilliant finale that provides a most effective ending.

Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 2.  Before Beethoven left Bonn for Vienna in 1792 he had already been busy composing piano sonatas (dedicating three to Count Waldstein) and had started his three piano trios, Op.1 and Op.2. He dedicated Op.1 to his benefactor at the time, Prince Lichnowsky, and Op.2 to his teacher, Joseph Haydn. Beethoven continued to compose piano sonatas throughout his entire career and these works played an important role in moving the piano away from the classical chamber style and more into the Lisztian style of romance and passion. His sonatas did not necessarily get bigger or better as there are movements of immense power and beauty in the early sonatas. However, as a result of the most careful thought, he wrote his later works in a meticulous and intellectual way which, in piano works, has never been matched by any other composer.

Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)

     Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major Op. 15

Piano Sonata No. 3 Op.2


Allegro con brio
Rondo: Allegro



Allegro con brio
Allegro assai

10:10 8:56

Total Time 61:58

Valeri Grohovski, Piano
The Moscow State Radio Orchestra.  Christopher Wilkins, Conductor

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Free mp3 sample from Piano Concerto No. 1, track no. 3

 DDD Digital Recording. Moscow Radio Studio Five,  1/2001 
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