Monday, December 15, 2008

Beethoven, Day 4

Happy Actual Probable Beethoven's Birthday!

We could do worse, despite my timing error, than to be spending it with the Piano Concerto #4. It is probably my favorite of the five.

For starters, I like the way it leaves the gate. In most concertos, certainly in most classical concertos, you get a minute or two of orchestral introduction before the soloist lets fly. In PC4, you start off with a few quiet chords played on the piano, and it takes awhile for the momentum to develop and for the full orchestra to get involved. It's very nice.

There's a quirky second movement, too, with an interplay between the orchestra and the piano that it is hard not to think of as conversational. The orchestra is brash, pedantic, authoritarian; the piano keeps answering its salvos with gentle, quiet responses. In the final movement, the piano takes the lead again with a theme that is pure joy when played by the soloist, and even the stuffy old orchestra seems to lossen up and have some fun with it.

Again, Happy Beethoven's Birthday! Don't forget to be iconoclastic!


Unknown said...

"Don't forget to be iconoclastic" is the perfect slogan for a bumper sticker.

Am late to the game, and haven't downloaded #4 yet. More on that later. But for now, I leave you with your art historical (mostly of the Spanish variety) tie-in: there's a self-portrait by Goya known as the "Beethoven Self Portrait." Partially b/c of the iconoclasm, partially b/c of the rockin' hairdo.

Jenners said...

Well, I'll eat some cake...or a cookie...or a chocolate and I'll say it is for Beethoven today!

I missed the Monday quiz because we were out of town...but I would have sucked at it anyway so oh well.

Heads up ... I am going to highlight your quizzes in an upcoming blog post this week (probably on Wednesday). So if some strange people come by, it might be because of that. Not that they are strange people but bloggers you don't usually have.