Beethoven: Sparks of Joy – Fifth piano concerto
Beethoven’s fifth and last piano concerto was published in 1810 in French-occupied Vienna, but not performed until the following year in Leipzig. The Vienna premier took place in 1812, with Beethoven’s pupil Carl Czerny as the soloist, Beethoven being by this time too deaf to play with an orchestra.
Beethoven, an ardent republican, would certainly not have approved of the nickname “the Emperor” for his 5th piano concerto, calling it simply his “great concerto”. It’s a grand and expansive work, with rich dialog between soloist and orchestra.
Here is a most enjoyable performance by Pierre-Laurent Aimard on piano, with David Afkham conducting the Frankfurt Radio Symphony orchestra. [Notes by Margaret Scialdone.]