Piano Concerto op. 61a after the Violin Concerto op. 61
Urtext Edition, Piano reduction, paperbound
Two copies needed for performance
Pages: 89 (XI, 78), Size 23,5 x 31,0 cm
Order no. HN 815 · ISMN 979-0-2018-0815-4
Level of difficulty (Piano): medium (Level 5/6)
Very few musicians are aware of the fact that Beethoven arranged his violin concerto also as a piano concerto. It is only recently that some pianists have discovered this truly rewarding work. Clementi, the London composer and publisher, had heard about the première of the violin concerto and probably sensed its potential. He asked Beethoven for a piano version, which was actually also published in 1808, at the same time as the original. Several important cadenzas had been especially composed for it; the one for the first movement is accompanied by the timpani – a unique and original touch! Our edition (piano reduction and study score) contains the text from the Complete Edition of Beethoven’s Works.
Hopefully these will stimulate many more performances of this fascinating work.
The score is of Henle’s usual high quality, supported by meticulous notes and background information. The study score is a little over A5 size, ie larger than the usual miniature score, and therefore perfectly possible to play from, and contains the full orchestral score.
[Piano Professional, 2006]
Despite the absence of the autograph, thought to have been lost in the then English blockade of the Continent, Beethoven’s own piano cadenzas and lead-ins … included here by Henle, stand as documentary proof of the transcription’s authenticity and show how seriously the composer took it.
[EPTA Piano Journal, 2006]
Hier evenaart Henle de eigen standaard, met een zeer muzikale lay-out, waaruit de structuur van het werk goed af te lezen valt.
The levels of difficulty of the
piano music published by G. Henle Publishers
The levels of difficulty of the piano music published by G. Henle Publishers
|1||easy||Bach, Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, nos. 4 and 5|
|2||Bach, Well-Tempered Clavier I, no. 1 Prelude C major|
|3||Beethoven, Piano Sonatas op. 49,1 and 2|
|4||medium||Grieg, Lyric Pieces op. 12, no. 4|
|5||Schumann, Fantasy Pieces op. 12, no. 1|
|6||Chopin, Nocturnes op. 27, nos. 1 and 2|
|7||difficult||Beethoven, Piano Sonata op. 10, no. 3|
|8||Beethoven, Piano Sonata op. 81a|
|9||Schumann, Toccata op. 7|
Guide to the levels of difficulty
"I don't know what 'difficult' means. Either you can play or you can't" – this was the rather terse comment by the great violinist Nathan Milstein, on being asked about the unbelievable difficulty of Niccolo Paganini's Caprice no. 1.
The relativity of the evaluation of difficulty in music immediately becomes clear. Yet I gladly take up this great challenge, presented to me by G. Henle Publishers. For I am aware of how useful a guide like this can be, both from my own experience as well as that of many colleagues. In particular so as to be able to identify "appropriate" works. For example for music teachers, who teach at very different levels, from beginners to those preparing for music conservatories, but also for all those interested amateurs for whom this guide is intended.
After careful deliberation I have settled on nine levels of difficulty, which I have divided into three groups: 1–3 (easy), 4–6 (medium), 7–9 (difficult). A number of parameters have been considered when assessing the level of difficulty. I have not just looked at the number of fast or slow notes to be played, or the chord sequences; of central importance are also the complexity of the piece's composition, its rhythmic complexities, the difficulty of reading the text for the first time, and last but not least, how easy or difficult it is to understand its musical structure. I have defined "piece" as being the musical unit of a sonata, or a single piece in a cycle, which is why Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier" Part I comprises a total of 48 levels of difficulty (each prelude and fugue is considered separately), Schumann's Sonata in f sharp minor op.11 only has a single number. My assessment is measured by the ability to prepare a piece for performance.
While assessing the pieces, it became clear that the medium level of difficulty (4–6) is the trickiest. Now and again this means that a piece is judged as a "3/4", even if it only deserved a "3" as far as piano technique is concerned. An example of such a "borderline" case (easy/medium) is Schumann's "Scenes from Childhood" op. 15 Von fremden Ländern und Menschen or at the other end "6/7" part of Bach's "English Suites". And of course within a main category there are also "from-to" evaluations (e.g. 7/8).
Any evaluation of art or music will always be subjective, even if the aim was to be objective. Despite the fact that I have endeavoured to be as careful as possible, I am all too aware that the results of my work can be called into question, and am therefore grateful for any suggestions you might have.
Prof. Rolf Koenen © 2010