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Piano Concerto op. 61a after the Violin Concerto op. 61
6 medium

PREFACE

The present volume follows the text published in Section III, Vol. 5, of the Beethoven Complete Edition (Munich, 2004). Further information on the presentation of the text, the state of the sources, and the genesis and publication history of the concerto can be found in the preface and the critical report for that volume. The sources for the piano version of Beethoven’s Vi... more

CRITICAL COMMENTARY

About the Composer

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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

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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.

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Klaus Schilde (Fingering)

Prof. Klaus Schilde, born in 1926, spent his childhood in Dresden. There he was greatly influenced by Walter Engel, who taught him the piano (Kodaly method), composition and violin. From 1946–1948 he studied at the music conservatory in Leipzig with Hugo Steurer. After moving to the west in 1952 he studied with Walter Gieseking and Edwin Fischer, as well as with Marguerite Long, Lucette Descaves and Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

Schilde won numerous prizes. From 1947 onwards he gave concerts as a soloist and chamber musician on almost every single continent with renowned orchestras. He taught at the music conservatories in East Berlin Detmold, West Berlin, Munich, Tokyo (Geidai) and Weimar. From 1988–1991 he was President of the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich, where he also taught for decades as a professor. There are numerous radio and television broadcasts with Klaus Schilde as well as CD recordings. Schilde has contributed fingerings to almost 100 Henle Urtext editions.

Prof. Klaus Schilde passed away on 10 December, 2020.

Hopefully these will stimulate many more performances of this fascinating work.

Arietta, 2007

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.

Pianowereld, 2006

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