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Relayed from the Queen's Hall
Sir HENRY J. WOOD and his SYMPHONY
RACHEL MORTON (Soprano)
HARRY BRINDLE (Bass)
ANGUS MORRISON (Pianoforte)
BEETHOVEN'S earliest appearance on a Vienna platform as a Soloist was when, in 1795, he gave the first performance of this Concerto. It is called the Second Concerto, but it was actually written before that which is commonly numbered as the first.
At that time Mozart had only been dead a few years, and Haydn was still alive. It is not, then, to be wondered at that Beethoven's early works show a good deal of these masters' styles ; and in this Concerto especially the influence of Mozart is apparent. Beethoven was not too puffed up about the work. which, he said, was not one of his best. and for which he only asked his publisher ten ducats (£5).
The music is in the usual three-Movement division of the Concerto.
FIRST MOVEMENT. We have at the start the regular opening in which the Orchestra shows us the First Main Tune, before tho Pianoforte takes it up. Similarly, the Second Main Tune is first heard from the Orchestra (First Violins and Bassoons), to be duly adopted by the Soloist. The working out of this material and the representation of it practically in its original form make up the life of the Movement.
SECOND MOVEMENT. One theme only is used, recurring, after little contrasting episodes, in various settings, with typical ornamentation of the tune. Happy hints are here and there to be found of the individuality that was already breaking through the screen of Mozart's and Haydn's influence.
LAST MOVEMENT. A care-free Rondo, in which the Piano has first cut at all three Main Tunes. No gayer wind-up for a light-weight work could be imagined.
THIS is an essay in the Italian style. written
-*- when Beethoven was about twenty-six. It consists of a long recitative, with various changes of pace. in which the wronged one upbraids the deceiver, and calls for Heaven's vengeance upon him. Then. with a revulsion of feeling. she begs the ' avenging god' to spare him. ' For him I lived,' she declares, ' and I would die for him.'
Then, in a slow Air. she pleads with the hard-hearted one himself to stay, for if he departs, she must perish of grief.
In the final section she asks why he treats her thus, and beseeches him to have pity on her distress.
THE FIRST MOVEMENT is troubled, nervous music—'the disordered sentiments which overthrow a great soul, a prey to despair,' said Berlioz. Its first four gruff notes, known as ' Fate knocking at the door.' are famous among musicians, as a concentrated, significant, and entirely unique idea.
The SECOND MOVEMENT is a series of connected
Variations on a long-drawn Theme that has two distinct sections, the first a sinuous melody, and the second suggestive of a fanfare.
The THIRD MOVEMENT is a Scherzo, a word that means ' a jest.' and became attached, as a formal term. to the light-styled, quick Movement that was usually found in the middle of a Symphony. Here, however, it is grim jesting, and there is no feeling of relaxed tension. It was by such movements as these that Beethoven raised the Scherzo from the air of triviality with which it first entered into the Symphonic scheme, anu brought it to full rank as a musical composition.
At the end of it comes a mysterious, whispered passage that gradually takes the music out ot
C Minor into C Major and leads into the blaze of the FOURTH MOVEMENT, a triumphal pæan that sustains the note of exhilaration from beginning to end, except for a moment where Beethoven brings in a few bars of the Scherzo. - The ending is a rattling and a pounding of C Major chords without a parallel in music.
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