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Difficulty (Explanation)
Other titles of this difficulty
Piano Concerto no. 4 G major op. 58
7 difficult


Henle has already brought out Beethoven’s piano concertos in full score as part of its New Beethoven Complete Edition and study score series. This VI works in this genre for which there is no surviving autograph score. In the Bonn exhibition catalogue of 1890, Erich Prieger advanced the optimistic theory that the autograph, “although extant, is still being kept under wraps... more

About the Composer


Ludwig van Beethoven

No composer has had as profound and sustained an influence on immediately following generations to the present day as Beethoven. His instrumental music, especially his symphonies, served as touchstones for symphonic composition throughout the nineteenth century. The extraordinarily high standard of his music and his relative independence as a freelance composer have led to his being characterized as the greatest composer of all time.

1770Baptized in Bonn on December 17, thus probably born on December 16, the son of Johann van Beethoven, a tenor in the court chapel of the prince-elector. First musical instruction from his father.
1778First public performance.
around 1780Musical training with the deputy court organist Christian Gottlob Neefe, who in 1783 presented him in Cramer’s “Magazin der Musik” as a second Mozart.
1782Acquaintance with the Breuning family, where his literary interest is aroused. First publication: Piano Variations in C minor on a March by Dressler, WoO 63.
1783Harpsichordist in the court chapel; 1784 assistant to the court organist.
1787Journey to Vienna. Here he very likely meets Mozart, who probably gives him some lessons. After a short while he must return home to his mother, who is ill with tuberculosis.
1792He travels a second time to Vienna, where he will remain until the end of his life. Count von Waldstein sends him on his way with the famous words: “With steady diligence you will receive Mozart’s spirit from Haydn's hands.” In Vienna he studies with Haydn, Albrechtsberger, Schuppanzigh, and Salieri. As a pupil of Joseph Haydn, he achieves extraordinary recognition among the Viennese nobility and receives financial support. Great demand for his compositions from publishing houses: chamber music and piano sonatas from the Bonn and early Viennese years are issued. His first works printed in Vienna (among them the piano sonatas, Op. 2) already bear the hallmark of his compositional style: a forward-advancing, spirited, process-related character.
1796Concert tours to Prague, Berlin, Leipzig, and Dresden, which cement his fame.
1798Piano Sonata in C Minor, “Pathétique,” Op. 13.
1798–1800String quartets, Op. 18.
1799/1800Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
1795/1800Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15
1800–01Piano sonatas, Op. 27, “quasi una fantasia,” including the Moonlight Sonata, Op. 27 No. 2.
1801Composition of the Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36 (until 1802). Publication of the Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19.
1801/02Crisis brought on by incipient hearing loss, documented in the “Heiligenstadt Testament.” Thereafter he begins, by his own admission, a “New Path” in his compositions, reflected particularly in the piano sonatas, Op. 31 (including the Tempest Sonata); the piano variations, Op. 34 and 35; and the Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, “Eroica,” Op. 55: they are characterized by enhanced structural development as well as by the use of Baroque techniques and models from other genres.
1803–10/12Frenzy of creativity; these years are dubbed Beethoven’s “heroic period”. Written during this phase are Symphonies Nos. 3 through 8 (Opp. 55, 60, 67, 68, 92, 93); Piano Concerti Nos. 3 through 5 (Opp. 37, 58, 73); the Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61; the Triple Concerto, Op. 56; string quartets (the Razumovsky quartets, Op. 59; the Harp Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 74; the String Quartet in F minor, “serioso,” Op. 95); piano trios (among them the “Ghost” Trio, Op. 70); piano sonatas (including the Waldstein Sonata in C major, Op. 53; the Appassionata in F minor, Op. 57; and “Les Adieux” in E-flat major, Op. 81a); songs (including “An die Hoffnung,” Op. 32); the Mass in C major (Op. 86); and the opera “Fidelio” (Op. 72, first version 1804/5).
1808/09Beethoven rejects an offer to become the First Kapellmeister at the court in Kassel because his patrons, Archduke Rudolph, Prince Kinsky, and Prince Lobkowitz, provide him with a comparable yearly salary.
1811/12Travels to the spa at Teplitz, where he meets Goethe. In 1812, the letter to the “immortal beloved,” whose identity (Antonie Brentano or Josephine Deym) is still uncertain.
1814Piano Sonata in E minor, Op. 90; third version of the opera “Fidelio.” Extraordinarily successful concert with Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8. Still, financial crisis brought about by currency devaluation and the absence of yearly stipends from Kinsky and Lobkowitz.
1815Death of his brother Caspar Carl and the beginning of the years-long battle for the guardianship of his nephew Karl.
1816Song cycle “An die ferne Geliebte,” Op. 98; Piano Sonata in A major, Op. 101.
1817–18Hammerklavier Sonata in B-flat major, Op. 106.
1818Beethoven begins keeping conversation books due to increasing hearing loss.
1819–23Missa solemnis, Op. 123.
1819/23Diabelli Variations, Op. 120.
1820 Piano Sonata in E major, Op. 109, marks the beginning of his glorious late period, which is characterized by exceeding the boundaries of forms, by extreme pitch registers, advanced harmonies, and an increased penchant for contrapuntal forms such as fugue; standing in opposition to the propensity for esotericism in his chamber music is the monumentality of Symphony No. 9.
1821/22Piano Sonatas in A-flat major, Op. 110 (with fugue in the final movement), and C minor, Op. 111 (reduction to two movements).
1822–26String quartets, Opp. 127, 130, 131, 132, 135, as well as the Grosse Fuge, Op. 133, which originally formed the final movement of Op. 130.
1823/24Completion of the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, which for the first time in the history of the genre includes voice parts (Schiller’s “Ode to Joy”). It will become the most famous and most frequently played symphony of all time.
1827Death in Vienna on March 26.

© 2003, 2010 Philipp Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart

About the Authors


Hans-Werner Küthen (Editor)

Dr. Hans-Werner Küthen, born in 1938 in Cologne, studied in Bonn and Bologna and did his doctorate in 1985 at Bonn University. From 1968–2003 he worked as a research associate at the Beethoven-Archiv in Bonn. His most important publications include: Beethoven: Critical Edition of the volume “Ouverturen und Wellingtons Sieg”, as well as all of the Piano Concertos (3 volumes) in the New Complete Edition of Beethoven’s Works. He has written numerous essays and articles on Beethoven and his contemporaries, and since 1969 has given lectures both in Germany and abroad.

Rediscovered the “Kammerfassung des Vierten Klavierkonzerts” for Pianoforte and String Quintet (1807). Co-editor (with Oldrich Pulkert) of the compendium “Ludwig van Beethoven im Herzen Europas. Leben und Nachleben in den böhmischen Ländern”, Prague 2000. Editor of the symposium report “Beethoven und die Rezeption der Alten Musik. Die hohe Schule der Überlieferung”, Bonn 2002. Lexical entries on Beethoven and Lodovico Viadana. “Quaerendo invenietis. Die Exegese eines Beethoven-Briefes an Haslinger vom 5. September 1823”, in: Musik – Edition – Interpretation. Gedenkschrift Günter Henle, ed. by Martin Bente, Munich 1980.

Sehr zu begrüßen ist, dass in den vorliegenden praktischen Ausgaben der Klavierkonzerte auch die Kadenzen, die Beethoven sehr wahrscheinlich für den Erzherzog Rudolph angefertigt hat … in revidierten, d.h. authentischen Fassungen vorgelegt werden … Ähnlich wie alle Urtext-Ausgaben, die im G. Henle-Verlag erschienen sind, zeichnen sich auch die vorliegenden praktischen Ausgaben der Beethoven’schen Klavierkonzerte durch ein graphisch übersichtliches und vor allem eindeutiges Notenbild aus, das dem Spieler (bzw. den beiden Spielern) keine Leseprobleme aufgibt; ein Notenbild, das allein schon aufgrund seiner optischen Qualität sogar den interessierten Nicht-Spieler zum Hinschauen und in der Folge auch zum Notenlesen einzuladen vermag.

Österreichische Musikzeitung, 2005

... den neuesten Erkenntnissen der Beethoven-Forschung entsprechende Ausgabe ...Als Pianist darf man sich ... über die natürlich auch in diesen Ausgaben hervorragende Qualität des Notenbildes und der spielpraktischen Einrichtung freuen.

Das Musikinstrument

Der musikalische Text stützt sich im wesentlichen auf die Abschrift des Kopisten Josef Klumpar ... Um Beethovens Absichten gerecht zu werden, hat sich der Herausgeber entschlossen, einige charakteristische Schreibweisen im Soloklavier beizubehalten – beispielsweise die Notengruppierung durch Balken und Fähnchen, wenn damit eine bestimmte Artikulation beabsichtigt ist.


Weiter so! Eine Studienpartitur, die sich so knicken läßt, das man sie auf den Notenständer seines Klaviers plazieren kann, ohne ständig in Angst und Sorge zu leben, dass sich a) die aufgeschlagene Seite vermittels der Eigendynamik des viel zu starken Buchrückens nach sonstwohin verblättert, b) der ganze Kladderadatsch genau dann auf die Tasten rutscht, wenn man es gerade wirklich nicht gebrauchen kann, c) ein vernünftiges Vorwort hat und d) so schön gedruckt ist, dass man sich keine Augenschäden zuzieht ...

Piano News

Ein Glücksfall! Wieder erweist Küthen sich ebenso als detail-besessen-solider Philologe wie als einer, dem es immer um mehr geht als nur um saubere Textaufbereitung – um ein Gesamtbild, eine Einbettung in biographische, historische, aufführungspraktische Kontexte und, wie noch in feinsinnigen Detailbemerkungen innerhalb des kritischen Berichts zu erkennen, um zum Klingen bestimmte Musik.

Das Orchester

This format, in which the orchestral part has been reduced to form the second piano, makes the work more readily playable for many, either as performance material or as useful practice for the real thing.

Sheet Music

Fait référence à l'édition HN 4620: ... il n'en demeure pas moins qu'il s'agit de l'édition des concertos la plus fiable à ce jour, ... une lecture attentive doit mener vers des exécutions beaucoup plus claires et incisives que celles auxquelles la tradition nous a habitués.

La lettre du musicien

Se basant sur le texte de l’édition complète, G. Henle Verlag fait paraître les éditions pratiques des concertos pour piano ... La clarté, la lisibilité du texte musical, les changements de page respectueux des impératifs musicaux ainsi qu’une reliure adéquate (le volume ne présente pas l’inconvénient de se refermer immédiatement.) font de ces éditions de véritables partitions «pour la pratique», qui, à juste titre, se sont acquis la confiance des interprètes internationaux les plus renommés. L’adjonction à la fin de la réduction pour piano des cadences originales de Beethoven constitue un autre positif.


These Beethoven editions are two-piano reductions extracted from the New Beethoven Complete Edition Series III and are amongst the most significant publications of piano music for professional pianists of the last decade. Hans-Werner Kuethen has finally given these masterpieces the editions they deserve, and his achievement is matched by intelligent fingering from Hans Kann. Any edition of Beethoven must be a compromise, of course, but these glorious publications are uniquely informative both in their introductions and editorial notes about the decisions made.

International Piano Quarterly, 2001



Further editions of this title
Further editions of this title