Saturday, October 1, 2011

Beethoven's "Emperor"

I always look forward in going to Jones Hall to hear the Houston symphony with the fetching Mrs. B. This Saturday night is one of those special concerts that I can't wait to attend.   It has three great pieces with two of my favorite composers, Ludwig Van Beethoven and Franz Schubert.   The concert starts out with Beethoven's Coriolan overture. The second piece will be the great "unfinished"
8th symphony of  Schubert.  After the intermission comes my favorite piano concerto of all time, Beethoven's fifth, known as "the Emperor."    What a great concert.  These three pieces would be good enough to make this concert special, but who the soloist is really makes this one special.

The legendary Andre Watts will be at the piano to play Beethoven's "Emperor".   I am getting excited just thinking about it.   We have seen the virtuoso Watts a few times in the past and he never disappoints.

Because this evening's concert will be special to Sheralyn and me, I will try to make this post special for you by playing all three movements of the Emperor.

I believe the second movement of Beethoven's fifth piano concerto is my favorite slow movement of any concerto. It is so beautiful and so moving, that if anyone has any doubts about the existence of God, those doubts should be dispelled by this God inspired second movement.

Here are a  couple of things to look for in the videos.  Because of the first movement's length, I was unable to find a video with the orchestra and pianist shown.  Still please listen as this is truly one of the great movements in the piano concerti repertoire. 

Also, in most classical concertos, in the first movement you hear a long introduction of the orchestra before the soloist comes in; but in Beethoven's Emperor concerto, after a loud chord by the orchestra, the  pianist immediately comes in with gusto [Beethoven is letting the orchestra know who is in charge of this concerto]. This happens three times before Beethoven finally allows the orchestra to give their long introduction [before the soloist comes in again].

In the last 30 seconds of the second movement, there will be a bridge leading into the third movement, as there is not the usual break between the second and third movements.

That bridge continues as you see the third video [which shows the third and final movement].  So the third movement will actually begin at the 30 second mark.

So, please turn up the volume, play in full screen the second and third movements and sit back and enjoy maybe the greatest piano concerto ever composed.

Beethoven Piano Concerto #5,  movement 1, Allegro:

Beethoven Piano Concerto #5 , 2nd movement, Adagio un poco mosso:

Beethoven Piano Concerto #5, movement 3, rondo, allegro ma non troppo:

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