12th IMF KH programme – 3rd concert
Sunday / June 2 / 7:30 p.m. / Church of St. Barbara
Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61
- Allegro ma non troppo
- Rondo. Allegro
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concert No.1 in C major, Op. 15
- Allegro con brio
- Rondo. Allegro scherzando
——— interval ———
Ludwig van Beethoven: Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello in C major, Op. 56
- Largo (attacca)
- Rondo alla polacca
Konstantin Lifschitz –piano, Corinne Chapelle – violin, Jiří Bárta – cello, Musica Minore – chamber ensemble
A brilliant solo part, phenomenal orchestration, dominant themes, all of this combined with musical wit and sheer vigour: these three concertos by Ludwig van Beethoven epitomize the very best of the turn of the 19th-century´s greatest symphonist´s achievement.
The twenty-five-year-old Beethoven modelled his Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15 on a formula defined by Mozart. Naturally, as was the custom in his time, he wrote it for himself as the soloist. Hence the outer movements´ abundance of breathtaking virtuosity, ravishing passages and their composer´s characteristic sense of humour. The concerto may well have been first performed in Prague, during Beethoven´s concert tour of 1798, though its authoritatively documented official premiere took place in Vienna two years later.
From its opening bar with four muted kettledrum tones, Beethoven´s sole violin concerto will make the audience prick up their ears and realize that such an entrée cannot be followed by anything ordinary. This is indeed its impact on us today, and it was no different for the composer´s contemporaries. The critical opinion of the time was split. While it did duly point to “more than a few fine passages,” it nonetheless scolded the composer for the score´s fragmentariness and overabundance of repetitions. Today the Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 31 is regarded as the epitome of a “symphonic” concerto where the solo part is organically implanted into the orchestral tissue.
The piano trio, a combination of violin, piano and cello, represents an acoustically perfect blend of instruments. Beethoven wrote eight gratifying compositions in this format. Several of them – including the Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello in C major – were addressed to the composer´s friend and pupil, Archduke Rudolf of Austria. This is also believed to account for the piano part´s posing smaller demands on the interpreter than the other two.
Dita Hradecká / translation: Ivan Vomáčka