Beethoven: Spark of Joy – Piano concerto No. 3, Op. 37 in C-minor.
Beethoven premiered his third piano concerto in 1803 at a massive benefit concert, which also featured the premieres of his Second Symphony, the oratorio “Christ on the Mount of Olives”, and a reprise of the first symphony (premiered a year earlier). As the composer had been completing orchestral scores for the oratorio in the wee hours of that morning, there was no time for him to write out the piano score for his new concerto. Hence the great consternation of his page-turner, Ignaz von Seyfried, who saw nothing but “empty pages with here and there what looked like Egyptian hieroglyphs, unintelligible to me, scribbled to serve as clues for him,” and had to rely on surreptitious nods from Beethoven to signal that it was time to turn the page.
In this concerto, composed in the C-minor tonality, Beethoven once again pays homage to Mozart, whose 24th piano concerto was also in C-minor and is considered to be his greatest.
Here, Seong-Jin Cho performs Beethoven’s third piano concerto, Opus 37, with the WDR Symphony Orchestra. [Notes by Margaret Scialdone.]