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Beautiful Beethoven

Beautiful Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven realized he was losing his hearing when he entered one of the most prolific and creative periods of his professional life. It was during this period — named the middle period — that he composed the Third Piano Concerto. The Evanston Symphony Orchestra will perform this major work with pianist Inna Faliks at its concert on Sunday, April 10, at 2:30 p.m. at Pick-Staiger.

This Third Piano Concert may be thought of as a transitional work between Beethoven’s earlier classical style and the later heroic style of the “Emperor” Piano Concerto (No. 5). It is the longest of Beethoven’s piano concertos and includes several distinctive features that set it apart from his earlier works. For example, the opening orchestral passage prior to the entrance of the soloist — lasting three and one half minutes — is the longest of any Beethoven concerto. It also includes a rising theme at the one-minute mark, which can be heard in the final movement of the Fifth Symphony.

Interestingly enough, the score of the concerto was incomplete at the concerto’s first performance on April 5, 1803. Beethoven's friend, Ignaz von Seyfried, who turned the pages of the music for Beethoven, the soloist, that night later wrote: “I saw almost nothing but empty pages; at the most, on one page or another a few Egyptian hieroglyphs wholly unintelligible to me were scribbled down to serve as clues for him; for he played nearly all the solo part from memory since, as was so often the case, he had not had time to set it all down on paper.”

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