Accompanied by the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia (Galicia Symphony Orchestra), Italian classical pianist Maurizio Pollini plays Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, the “Emperor”. Conductor: Daniele Pollini, the son of the pianist himself. Recorded live at the Palacio de la Ópera de A Coruña on November 14, 2014.
Beethoven wrote this concerto, which is his last piano concerto between 1809 and 1811 in Vienna, dedicated it to Archduke Rudolf (8 January 1788 – 24 July 1831, a Cardinal, an Archbishop of Olmütz, and a member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine), his patron and pupil.
The concerto is scored for a solo piano, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in B-flat (clarinet I playing clarinet in A in movement 2; flute II, clarinet II, both trumpets, and timpani are tacet during this movement), two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani in E-flat and B-flat, and strings.
There are three movements, with the starting times in the video:
- Allegro in E-flat major (0:35) Despite its use of simple chords, including a second theme constructed almost entirely out of tonic and dominant notes and chords, the first movement is full of complex thematic transformations. When the piano enters with the first theme, the expository material is repeated with variations, virtuoso figurations, and modified harmonies. The second theme enters in the unusual key of B minor before moving to B major and at last to the expected key of B-flat major several bars later. Following the opening flourish, the movement follows Beethoven’s trademark three-theme sonata structure for a concerto. The orchestral exposition is a typical two-theme sonata exposition, but the second exposition with the piano has a triumphant virtuoso third theme at the end that belongs solely to the solo instrument (Beethoven does this in many of his concertos). The coda at the end of the movement is quite long, and, again typical of Beethoven, uses the open-ended first theme and gives it closure to create a satisfying conclusion.
- Adagio un poco mosso in B major (21:00) The second movement in B major is calmly paced and delicate, being a standard contrast to the first movement. It moves into the third movement without interruption when a lone bassoon note B drops a semitone to B-flat, the dominant note to the tonic key E-flat.
- Rondo. Allegro ma non troppo in E-flat major (28:53) The final movement of the concerto is a seven-part rondo form (ABACABA), a typical concerto finale form. The piano begins the movement by playing its main theme, then followed by the full orchestra. The rondo’s B-section begins with piano scales, before the orchestra again responds. The C-section is much longer, presenting the theme from the A-section in three different keys before the piano performs a cadenza. Rather than finishing with a strong entrance from the orchestra, however, the trill ending the cadenza dies away until the introductory theme reappears, played first by the piano and then the orchestra. In the last section, the theme undergoes variation before the concerto ends with a short cadenza and robust orchestral response.
Daniele Pollini was born in 1978. He made his debut as a pianist at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro in the summer of 1997. He also participated in the Salzburg Festival and the Ruhr Piano Festival and made his successful debut in Paris and in the United States.
He has appeared as soloist with the Orchestra Regionale Toscana, with the Orchestra of the Musical Afternoons and with the National Radio Symphony Orchestra In 2003 he performed at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino under the Zubin Mehta, and in 2004 he gave a concert at the Venice Biennale.
His interests also extend to electronic music. His training as a director is linked to the Accademia Musicale Chigiana conducting courses, taught by Gianluigi Gelmetti. In 2002 he made his debut at the Ravenna Festival with the RAI Symphony Orchestra, with a program including the IV and VII Symphony by Beethoven.
His repertoire ranges from classical and romantic authors to contemporary composers.
Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia
Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia is a Spanish orchestra, created in 1992 and based in A Coruña, where it is the main orchestra in the city’s Mozart Festival. Its conductor is Dima Slobodeniouk.