Music written by Ludwig van Beethoven continues to be as compelling and relevant today as it was back when it was first heard. Beethoven’s ability to put into musical expression, the struggle to overcome one’s own limitations, the heartache of unrequited love, the joy of connection and community with the human race, makes his writing something like a musical diary for all humanity. If you want to be inspired, look up on YouTube, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony Japan 2011 and you will see and hear an amazing performance done in a stadium not long after the devastating Tsunami hit that country. Listening to Beethoven makes one feel like being a better person and to continue the struggle with renewed vigor.
This week you will be listening to the first Piano Concerto in C major though it was not the first of this genre to be written by Beethoven but simply the first to be published. As with many large-scale works this one is divided into three parts which are in terms of tempo fast, slow, then fast again. The first movement is Allegro con brio (fast with fire) the second movement is Largo- slow, and the third movement is Rondo Allegro Scherzando (playfully) A Rondo is a type of form in which a theme is alternated with other thematic material. See if you can keep track of how many times the Rondo theme is played in the final movement.
Piano Concerto No.1 in C Major performed by Lang Lang