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#2023996 - 01/30/13 11:36 AM Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++
riley80 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/03/08
Posts: 386
Loc: Florida
is the 4th known by a similar tag?

The spouse is asking, since he is finally developing an interest in the piano concerto. ( Not that I'M playing it.....)
Thanks.

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#2024003 - 01/30/13 11:41 AM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: riley80]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19836
Loc: New York
"The G major" smile

No it doesn't, but maybe you want to come up with one!

Actually IMO it's sort of too holy for a name. (Seriously.) Like the last sonatas....

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#2024006 - 01/30/13 11:50 AM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: riley80]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5417
'Emperor' is commonly used only in English-speaking countries, not surprisingly, as it was the English publisher Cramer who first coined it.

The Austro-German countries just call it the E flat Piano Concerto. (Though the influence of USA is so widespread, who knows.....?)

But B's other great E flat work, his 3rd Symphony, is widely known as the 'Eroica'. Even in Germany.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2024010 - 01/30/13 11:58 AM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: bennevis]
the nosy ape Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 719
Loc: Westford, MA
Yes, Beethoven would be unlikely to name anything "Emperor" since he was egalitarian. And speaking of the third symphony, Beethoven originally dedicated it to Napoleon but tore up the title page of the manuscript and rededicated it upon learning that Napoleon had declared himself Emperor of France.

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#2024016 - 01/30/13 12:03 PM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: riley80]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5417
OK, back to the 4th. grin

How would you play the opening chord?

I've heard it played pppp, p, even f, even (gasp!!)....rolled crazy
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2024018 - 01/30/13 12:13 PM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: bennevis]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19836
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: bennevis
OK, back to the 4th. grin

How would you play the opening chord?

I've heard it played pppp, p, even f, even (gasp!!)....rolled crazy

Gently, solemnly, resonantly -- everything very soft except the bottom and especially the top note, which are 'just loud enough.'

It's not really expressible by a single dynamic, or at best poorly expressible by it. If I had a gun to my head ha I'd say "mp."

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#2024048 - 01/30/13 01:03 PM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: riley80]
fnork Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1801
Loc: Helsinki, Finland
Speaking of the first chord, it has always been a bit of a mystery why that chord is said to make so many pianists nervous. It is said to be difficult to get that lightness, that gentleness, that whatever, that starts this concerto. I talked about it with a friend who just performed it with orchestra recently, and we were both in agreement that there's a lot of other things to worry about in that piece as it is. Rach 2 also starts with a soft chord, yet nobody seems to fear this one (though it is often lousily voiced).

Speaking of that opening...I read a wise remark by Charles Rosen on it - he worked on the piece with a conductor who asked him NOT to take his hands off the keyboard once he had played the opening. This gives the idea that the soloist has finished playing and won't continue, which indeed is the case - however, the theatrical effect of still holding your hands at the keyboard makes the audience not sure what to except, and the B major that the orchestra enters with becomes more of a surprise. There's a similar thing towards the end of the slow movement of Hammerklavier, where the music stops and it may appear to some that the movement is over. In a place like that, it's again wise to keep the hands at the keyboard, making it clear that the music indeed does continue.

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#2024053 - 01/30/13 01:11 PM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: fnork]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19836
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: fnork
....Rach 2 also starts with a soft chord, yet nobody seems to fear this one.....

It's not holy. smile

And it's not nearly as subtle.

BTW I've never performed the Beethoven 4th and so I can only guess, but I don't think I'd fear the chord. I love it too much to fear it. I would think my feeling would be, I cannot wait to play this chord.

P.S. It's similar to the opening chord of Schubert's G major Sonata (isn't it?) -- only more so. grin

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#2024057 - 01/30/13 01:17 PM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: riley80]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5417
Who was that (apparently) renowned teacher/pianist who spent 1/2 hour (or thereabouts) with a well-known pupil working on that one chord? The mind boggles.....
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2024058 - 01/30/13 01:25 PM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: bennevis]
Hakki Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2722
_________________________
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#2024069 - 01/30/13 01:57 PM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: Hakki]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19836
Loc: New York
Cool!

I'll take Schnabel, recording hiss and all.

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#2024125 - 01/30/13 03:41 PM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: riley80]
Jolteon Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/11
Posts: 526
Loc: Perth, Australia
I've heard it said that the slow movement is somewhat reminiscent of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice. So maybe we can call it the "Orpheus" concerto? It has a nice ring. wink


EDIT
Just did a quick Google search shows some other people have already used this title for it. laugh
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#2024130 - 01/30/13 03:47 PM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: Jolteon]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5417
Originally Posted By: Jolteon
I've heard it said that the slow movement is somewhat reminiscent of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice. So maybe we can call it the "Orpheus" concerto? It has a nice ring. wink


EDIT
Just did a quick Google search shows some other people have already used this title for it. laugh


'Orpheus taming the Furies' is often the imagery applied to that slow movement, with good reason. But not sure where poor Eurydice comes in..... grin
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2024139 - 01/30/13 04:06 PM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: bennevis]
Jolteon Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/11
Posts: 526
Loc: Perth, Australia
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: Jolteon
I've heard it said that the slow movement is somewhat reminiscent of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice. So maybe we can call it the "Orpheus" concerto? It has a nice ring. wink


EDIT
Just did a quick Google search shows some other people have already used this title for it. laugh


'Orpheus taming the Furies' is often the imagery applied to that slow movement, with good reason. But not sure where poor Eurydice comes in..... grin


You must be right, because apparently the whole piece is secretly based on Orpheus.... there's a whole book about it!

http://www.amazon.com/Beethovens-Orpheus-Concerto-Cultural-Beethoven/dp/1576471322
_________________________

Algernon: I hope, Cecily, I shall not offend you if I state quite frankly and openly that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection.

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#2024398 - 01/31/13 02:00 AM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: riley80]
Ferdinand Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/23/07
Posts: 943
Loc: California
Heaven forbid the 4th concerto should acquire a nickname.

Saddling a piece of music with a name supposedly indicative of its meaning restricts the imagination of the listener. Only the composer should have the right to name a composition.

What wouldn't I give to have my memory selectively erased of acquaintance with the sonata op. 27 #2, and be able to hear it with no idea of what it may have represented to a certain Ludwig Rellstab.

I don't see any problem with handy mnemonic names related to facts about a piece such as the first performance, the dedication, or musical features, for examples "Oxford" symphony, "Drum Roll" symphony, "Haydn" quartets, "Archduke" trio, "Waldstein" sonata, etc.

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#2024429 - 01/31/13 03:34 AM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: riley80]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Well chaps ... I’ve just played the first 5 measures of the jolly old PC IV by LB ... and followed that up with the keyboard version of the orchestral echo ... and according to my copy for IMSLP we are cantering at a modest Allegro moderato ... the “p dolce” would indicate that we want to ride our pony without spurs.

Thanks for the lead ... must work on this so familiar strain.

There are endless treats from LB ... and to think the chappie was deaf.

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#2024466 - 01/31/13 06:36 AM Re: Beethoven question: If 5th = "Emperor", ++ [Re: fnork]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7975
Originally Posted By: fnork
Speaking of the first chord, it has always been a bit of a mystery why that chord is said to make so many pianists nervous. It is said to be difficult to get that lightness, that gentleness, that whatever, that starts this concerto. I talked about it with a friend who just performed it with orchestra recently, and we were both in agreement that there's a lot of other things to worry about in that piece as it is. Rach 2 also starts with a soft chord, yet nobody seems to fear this one (though it is often lousily voiced).



I think the problem with the first chord of the LvB 4th is that expectations are high that a certain pretty rarefied atmosphere will get underway from the first note. It's one of the problems of playing core repertoire - everybody already knows how it's supposed to go before you even get started.

Of course, that's also one of the advantages of playing core repertoire - everybody is paying at least as much attention to their own internal version of the piece as they are to what you are actually doing. If you don't do anything to disrupt their trance, you're fine.

But, back to the 4th - the hard thing is really about how Beethoven moved the kind of quiet improvisatory music that people would expect to hear in either the cadenza or in the "preluding" that might precede the piece, to the actual beginning of the piece. I don't think the effect today is anything like what it would have been when Beethoven wrote it - back then, it probably would have been difficult for many people in the audience to know exactly when the concerto began, which is just what Beethoven was toying with, I think.

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