Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 4
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko, conductor; Boris Giltburg, piano
NAXOS CLASSICS 8574152
The Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 might have been composed in 1800, when Beethoven, aged thirty, was already plagued by deafness. The work was first performed in April of 1803, with Beethoven as piano soloist. Beethoven’s friend, Ignaz von Seyfried, who turned pages for him that night, later wrote: “I saw almost nothing but empty pages…at the most, a few Egyptian hieroglyphs wholly unintelligible were scribbled down to serve as clues for him, who played nearly all the solo part from memory since, as was often the case, Beethoven had not had time to set it all down on paper.”
The Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 premiered in March of 1807 at a private concert, but the first public performance was not until a concert in December of 1808 at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien. Beethoven again was the featured soloist, giving his last public appearance ever playing the piano with an orchestra. After that performance, the concerto was neglected until 1836, when it was played in a concert by Felix Mendelssohn.
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Vasily Petrenko brilliantly supports fellow Russian, pianist Boris Giltburg in two nobly delivered performances that perfectly balance passion and intensity, intellectual rigor, and elegance from both orchestra and soloist.
Rafael de Acha © 2023