Ludwig van Beethoven began composing Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 5 in 1808, around the time he completed the Fifth and Sixth symphonies. The Concerto premiered on 28 November 1811 in Leipzig. The composer, who usually performed at the premieres of his works, did not step on stage this time due to progressive deafness; this honour went to Friedrich Schneider, the 25-year-old German organist and pianist. The work is dedicated to the Archduke Rudolf of Austria, Beethoven’s patron, friend and pupil. It is not known exactly who dubbed the work Emperor. It could have been Johann Baptist Cramer, the music publisher active at the time. It is joked that the composer would hardly have liked this title. Beethoven changed his dedication of the Third Symphony, which was originally dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte. After the composer found out that Napoleon had declared himself Emperor, Beethoven, enraged and disappointed, withdrew the dedication, writing a new one – Composed to celebrate the memory of a great man. Yet Concerto’s headline is a precise sign of that era, a reflection of Vienna as the city of emperors. Such a title aptly describes the atmosphere of the opus – from the first bars, when the victorious piano passages are heard, the music spreads solemn grandeur.
ORCHESTRA: LITHUANIAN NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
CONDUCTOR: MODESTAS PITRĖNAS
PIANO: MŪZA RUBACKYTĖ