Beethoven for the Beethoven Year
Krzysztof Urbański, principal guest conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, was originally going to start the new season with Shostakovich's monumental Symphony No. 12. But owing to the Corona restrictions, the programme is now a little shorter, and will be performed by a smaller ensemble. But it is no less exciting for that: a fierce energy marks the last of Beethoven's five piano concertos, in which the soloist and the orchestra face each other as equally-matched rivals.
Not without reason is this enthralling work with its sublime E flat introduction known in English as the »Emperor« Concerto. For the tricky solo part, sought-after Croatian pianist Dejan Lazić returns to the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra. While Beethoven was already at the height of his success with the Fifth Piano Concerto, the premiere of his First Symphony marked his breakthrough as a composer in the music centre of Vienna: the symphony was first performed in April 1800 at the first concert in Vienna's old Burgtheater that the composer organised himself. At this venue, he reached a considerably larger audience than in the private home concerts he had put on hitherto.
And it was worth it: »At the end a symphony was performed that was rich in art, innovation and ideas« - thus the reviewer of the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung. Those who think that a first symphony can only represent an early stage in the development of the future »Titan« of Viennese Classicism are actually mistaken: »Do not take his last symphony as proof of his genius – his first symphony serves the purpose just as well!«, enthused Robert Schumann about this self-assured and rebellious work of a 30-year-old.
NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester
Dejan Lazić piano
conductor Krzysztof Urbański
Ludwig van Beethoven
Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Nr. 5 Es-Dur op. 73
Sinfonie Nr. 1 C-Dur op. 21
NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra Subscription C