Beethoven: Sparks of Joy — Fourth Piano Concerto
Beethoven’s fourth piano concerto is unique in that it opens not with a grandiose orchestral introduction, but with a serene statement of the ideas by the piano soloist. Following its public premiere in December 1808 – part of a marathon concert which also featured the 5th and 6th Symphonies, the Choral Fantasy, and three movements from the Mass in C – the concerto languished until 1836, when it was revived by Felix Mendelssohn.
On November 3, 1838, Robert Schumann wrote, “Today Mendelssohn played the G‑Major Concerto of Beethoven with a power and polish that it transported us all. I took a pleasure in it such as I have never before enjoyed, and I sat in my seat without moving a muscle or even breathing.”
Today’s performance is by Mitsuko Uchida, with Zubin Mehta conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.