Of course the Concertgebouworkest celebrates Ludwig van Beethovens’s 250th anniversary. None other than Krystian Zimerman is the soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, also known as the Emperor Concerto. Gustavo Gimeno is at the helm.
The groundbreaking composer Ludwig van Beethoven was born 250 years ago, in December 1770. The world of music would never be the same. Apart from the symphony and the string quartet, the piano concerto and the piano as an instrument have much to thank Beethoven for. Beethoven’s concertos helped enlarge the tonal and dynamic range and expressive possibilities of the piano to a great extent.
Beethoven’s Piano Concertos No. 4 and 5 proved how highly original the composer was. Both works met with misunderstanding and resistance in his time. Piano Concerto No. 4 proved Beethoven’s highly original mind. Its improvisation-like spontaneity in the beginning met with much resistance and incomprehension. After the 1808 premiere a review praised the work as ‘the most admirable, extraordinary artistic and complex Beethoven score ever’. Yet it was neglected for many years. Piano Concerto No. 5, also known as the Emperor Concerto, is an impressive construction containing many fine details, a shimmering glow and dark corners. For the early 19th-century audience, this was too much. Now, over two centuries later, all that counts is Beethoven’s towering inventive mind.
Krystian Zimerman is one of the greatest pianists of our time. He does not perform often - only when he feels he completely understands the essence of the score. For over thirty years he has studied Beethoven’s Concertos, leading to a carefully balanced approach and a clear vision. The conductor is Gustavo Gimeno, whose remarkable international career began with the Concertgebouworkest.