Page 1




PIANO CONCERTO NO.1 IN C, OP.15 Allegro con brio Largo 3 Rondo: Allegro 1 2

18:50 12:01 9:30

PIANO CONCERTO NO.2 IN B FLAT, OP.19 Allegro con brio Adagio 6 Rondo: Allegro 4 5

Total Time

14:59 9:46 6:21 71:29

MMT2050 Live Stereo Recording  2003 HRL Morrison Music Trust  2003 HRL Morrison Music Trust Rita Angus (1908-1970), Cass, 1936, oil on canvas, 375 x 474 mm. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu. Reproduced by permission of the Estate of the artist.

BEETHOVEN AND THE CONCERTO When Beethoven visited Vienna as a teenager in the late 1780s he had no doubts about the composer with whom he intended to study. Mozart, the greatest keyboard virtuoso of the period, was an obvious choice for Beethoven given his own formidable powers as a pianist. Mozart was evidently impressed by Beethoven’s playing but did not think it better than that of his pupil Hummel who was several years younger. It was only after Beethoven begged to be allowed to improvise on a theme of Mozart’s own devising that he was finally accepted as a pupil. In the event Beethoven did not study with Mozart. His mother fell seriously ill and he returned to Bonn in short order. By the time circumstances allowed him to return to Vienna Mozart was dead and Beethoven undertook instead to study with Haydn. Ironically, Haydn, the teacher of second choice, proved to be a far richer source of musical inspiration than Mozart. In one instrumental genre,

however, Mozart stood supreme: the concerto. Many composers had written keyboard concertos before Mozart. Among the works that exerted the greatest influence on the young Mozart were the concertos of Johann Christian Bach whom he met in London as a child. The polished, elegant style and easy Italianate lyricism of the music of Bach assumed a central place in Mozart’s musical thinking for many years, and to them, as he matured as an artist, he added intellectual complexity and technical virtuosity. In a sense there are no direct precursors to the Mozart piano concertos: other works exist, many of them attractive and well-written, but none give the barest hint of what Mozart was to achieve in the space of several concert seasons. How well these works were known outside of Vienna is difficult to assess. But one can be sure that these extraordinary works came as a revelation to Beethoven, far more so

than even the greatest symphonies and quartets of Haydn, for Beethoven too was a virtuoso and perhaps better than most could appreciate Mozart’s gigantic achievement. With Mozart dead, Beethoven sought to establish himself as quickly as possible as the foremost keyboard virtuoso in Vienna. His playing astonished and delighted the lucky few who heard it and his improvisations in particular gained him great fame. All the while he was honing his skills as a composer in preparation to assault the three great musical fortresses of Viennese classicism: the symphony, the concerto and the string quartet. The concerto provided the ideal public platform for Beethoven. It allowed him to demonstrate his prowess both as a performer and composer and fulfil Count Waldstein’s prediction that he would ‘receive Mozart’s spirit from Haydn’s hands’. Beethoven’s compositional style underwent a massive transformation during the years that separate the B flat concerto and the

‘Emperor’ and this change is reflected in the works themselves. The early works draw on Mozart’s concertos for their formal models and to an extent their musical inspiration. The fourth and fifth concertos, however, have their origins in the great Middle Period symphonies and for that reason an almost inconceivable stylistic gulf separates the early concertos from the late works. That the concertos – like the sonatas – are the music Beethoven wrote for himself makes them particularly revealing, the more so since they represent the most public face of Beethoven the performer. It is hardly surprising that no concertos followed the ‘Emperor’, even though sketches for a sixth piano concerto survive. When Beethoven came to the realisation that his deafness made it impossible for him to perform in public any longer he seems to have lost heart and abandoned the genre forever.

PIANO CONCERTO NO.1 IN C, OP.15 PIANO CONCERTO NO.2 IN B FLAT, OP.19 It was as a pianist and not as a composer that Beethoven first made an impression on the worldly and musically sophisticated Viennese. Arriving in the imperial capital less than a year after Mozart’s death Beethoven launched a determined campaign to establish himself as quickly as possible as the great man’s most obvious successor. Like Mozart before him Beethoven derived most of his income from playing and teaching during these critical years and viewed the composition of concertos for his own use as an important artistic and financial priority. Beethoven’s first appearances in Vienna as a pianist were all private affairs held in the houses of the nobility. Interestingly enough, he delayed his public debut until 29 March 1795 when he appeared as the soloist in his own B flat Concerto at a concert at the Burgtheater. The Wiener Zeitung recorded that ‘the celebrated Herr Ludwig van Beethoven reaped the unanimous applause W. A. Sutton (1917-2000), Hills and Plains Waikari, 1956, oil on board, 835 x 1135 mm. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu.

of the audience for his performance...’. The successful premiere of the B flat

concerto, the composer turned his attention to the score for the last time. In the course

concerto not only provided Beethoven

of twenty years or more the B flat concerto

with an opportunity to publicly display his

shed a slow movement, gained a new

formidable powers as a performer but also

Finale and a very fine cadenza.

to demonstrate his growing confidence as a composer. The rather complex chronology of the first two concertos tells us a great deal

The true significance of Beethoven’s continual revision of the B flat concerto is not that he felt an underlying dissatisfaction with the work but rather realized that for all

about Beethoven’s ambitions and attitudes

its inherent weaknesses it contained much

during the mid-1790s. Although it has long

that was good.

been recognized that the work known as the ‘second’ concerto was completed

By way of comparison, the composition of the C major concerto was relatively

before the first, it is not generally well

straightforward. It was written in

known that this earlier concerto occupied

1795, performed shortly thereafter and

the composer’s attention longer than any

revised in 1800 prior to performance at

other of his works.

Beethoven’s famous April Academy. If the

The first draft of the B flat concerto appears to have been underway as early

B flat concerto was the work of a pianist attempting to follow in the footsteps of

as 1787, three years after the completion

Mozart before he was technically equipped

of a concerto in E flat for fortepiano and

to do so, its successor clearly demonstrates

small orchestra (WoO4). It then underwent

the hallmarks of an experienced and highly

several radical revisions during the 1790s

accomplished composer.

culminating in a major rewrite in 1798.

In terms of overall structure and

A further three years elapsed before

musical style, both of Beethoven’s first two

Beethoven reluctantly offered the work for

concertos follow the Viotti-Mozart model

publication (for half his usual fee) and in

very closely with their three-movement

1809, the year he completed the ‘Emperor’

cycle (martial­– elegant–boisterous) while

the power and intellectual complexity of the

gift for writing very slow, concentrated

works reveals a characteristic seriousness

movements of immense beauty while the

of purpose. While the two concertos are dissimilar in many respects, they share a number of common and important stylistic traits. Both first movements show considerable

most remarkable movement in the C major concerto is the grave and rather seductive Largo cast in the unusual key of A-flat major. The unprecedented dynamism of nearly all Beethoven’s music is immediately

ingenuity and technical resource in

apparent in the finale of the B flat concerto.

the way in which thematic material

The extant sketches show this element

is developed and shared between the

to have been important from the outset

soloist and the orchestra, the hallmark

although Beethoven had considerable

of Mozart’s mature concerto style. Both

difficulty in deciding how best to notate the

first movements introduce the soloist

rhythm. The C major concerto finale also

with a new theme rather than with a bald

owes much of its power to the aggressive

restatement of the opening thematic

orchestration, which looks back to Haydn’s

material. Characteristically, Beethoven

recent Symphony No.97 in C and forward to

never sacrifices the musical integrity of the

Beethoven’s own Symphony No.1.

work in order to increase the prominence

Beethoven enjoyed great success as

and difficulty of the solo part. This is most

a performer with both of these concertos,

evident in the central solos of both first

delaying their publication until he felt

movements, where the piano participates

they were beginning to lose their novelty.

in the extension and development of

Although Beethoven ceased performing his

existing material rather than creating new

first two concertos in the early years of the

opportunities for flashy display.

19th century his decision to write cadenzas

The slow movements also have much in common. The contemplative Adagio in the B flat concerto is one of the earliest manifestations of Beethoven’s

for the works in 1809 shows that he did not altogether lose interest in them.

DIEDRE IRONS Diedre Irons was born in Winnipeg, Canada. A child prodigy, she made her first solo appearance with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at the age of twelve playing the Schumann Piano Concerto. After graduating from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, she was invited by her teacher, Rudolf Serkin, to join the faculty of that prestigious conservatory. She taught there for the next seven years, at the same time touring extensively in Canada and the United States both as a soloist and as a chamber music player. Irons moved to New Zealand in 1977 and has since become a vital part of the New Zealand music scene, performing frequently with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland

Philharmonia and the Christchurch Symphony. She has toured many times under the auspices of Chamber Music New Zealand, and recorded extensively for Radio New Zealand. She continues to travel internationally, having, to date, performed concerts in 25 countries. In 2003, as well as the cycle of Beethoven piano concertos with the Christchurch Symphony, she has performed with the New Zealand String Quartet, and will undertake a Chamber Music New Zealand tour with the Canterbury Trio. Diedre Irons was awarded an MBE for services to music in 1989. She is Senior Lecturer in Piano at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. DiedreIrons Piano Recital M ozartSchumann Ravel Gershwin Chopin


Century Classics Ensemble, which has presented the New Zealand premieres of many 20th century masterpieces, Taddei is also an advocate of contemporary New Zealand composers. Also available from Trust Records featuring

MARC TADDEI Marc Taddei is the Music Director of the Christchurch Symphony, Associate Conductor of the Auckland Philharmonia, and Music Director of New Zealand’s premier modern music group, the 20th Century Classics Ensemble. He holds the positions of Head of Orchestral Repertoire Studies and Artist Teacher of Conducting at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Taddei has conducted in Europe and North America, and is a frequent guest conductor with every professional orchestra in New Zealand. He is noted for his interpretations of the Germanic and late-Romantic repertoire and is a keen advocate of the Second Viennese School. In addition to his work with the 20th



WARRIORs from pluto




THE CHRISTCHURCH SYMPHONY Recently described by conductor Sir William Southgate as ‘...a minor miracle which boxes way above its weight’, the Christchurch Symphony is one of New Zealand’s small number of professional orchestras and is a vital part of a vibrant artistic scene in Christchurch. Founded almost 30 years ago, it has built up a core of over 30 professional players, which it augments when required with other talented players in the Christchurch region. Under Music Director Marc Taddei the orchestra has embarked on a strategy of expanding its range and versatility. Its annual programmes span the ages and styles from the Baroque to the great Bruckner and Mahler symphonies. Its ‘pop’ programme features top New Zealand and overseas artists such as Bic Runga and Midge Marsden. Marsden’s performance of the late William Russo’s Three Pieces for Blues Band, was both a new direction for the orchestra and

enthusiastically received by audience and critics alike. Its programmes have included works by New Zealand composers Douglas Lilburn, Gareth Farr and Chris Cree Brown and Ewen Clarke. The Christchurch Symphony also tours to South Island centres and is regularly engaged by, amongst others, Canterbury Opera, the Christchurch City Choir and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. The Christchurch Symphony has released two previous recordings, Live at the Proms and the much acclaimed Landmarks, a compilation from the orchestra’s repertoire. AMI Insurance is Christchurch Symphony’s principal sponsor and its generous assistance enabled the orchestra to participate in this recording.

Rita Angus (1908-1970) Rita Angus was born in Hastings and studied at the Canterbury College School of Art from 1927 to 1933. In the 1930s she exhibited at the Canterbury Society of Arts and with ‘The Group’ (ex-students from the Society who set up their own exhibitions, while working as a graphic artist. She painted extensively in Otago, Canterbury, and later Hawkes Bay and Wellington. Her work in the 1930s and 40s, the period in which Cass was painted, has often been described as ‘regionalist’ in its apparent celebration of a specific time and locality. In 1954 she bought a cottage in Thorndon, Wellington where she lived and worked until her death in 1970. During the 1930s Rita Angus made a number of sketching trips into the Canterbury high country with friends and fellow artists such as Louise Henderson. Cass captures the isolation of a tiny settlement in the Southern Alps with its small railway station, populated by a single waiting figure, set against dominating landforms. Angus used a distinctive style of realism, with clearly defined shapes, blocks of strong colour and a clear, pervading light. She was searching for ways to combine her own experience of the area and the

essential nature of the region. The colours are seen as typical of the Canterbury School of artists. The painting has become an icon of New Zealand art.

William Alexander (Bill) Sutton (1917-2000) Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, W.A. Sutton was educated at Christchurch Boys High School and at the University of Canterbury College of Art (1934-1938). During the course of his career he received many awards and fellowships, including the Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship in 1973 and the Governor General’s Award in 1984. He was awarded the CBE in 1980. Sutton’s contribution to New Zealand’s art history was his development of the landscape through his depiction of the Canterbury region over almost six decades. Using both oils and watercolour, his style changed over the years from a realist to an abstract approach. He began to seek the essence of the landscape, paring back the visual components to angle and form, emphasising structure and composition. Through his study of the unique patterns of the sky, the shapes, textures and forms of the land in Canterbury, he gave the region an identity unparalleled in New Zealand art.

BEETHOVEN PIANO CONCERTOS 1 & 2 MMT2050 Live Stereo Recording  2003 HRL Morrison Music Trust  2003 HRL Morrison Music Trust Recorded live at the Christchurch Town Hall, New Zealand, in association with AMI Insurance and Concert FM during 1 February, 15 & 17 March, 2003. Production Wayne Laird Recording Engineer Noel McGinnity Executive Producer Ross Hendy Booklet Notes Dr Allan Badley Booklet Coordinator Janey MacKenzie Design Mallabar Music Photo Credits Robert Cross, Bob Goundrill, Raimund Lavender The HRL Morrison Music Trust gratefully acknowledges the support of the following people and organisations in the making of this recording: AMI Insurance, Concert FM Professor John Ritchie, John Gow, Neil Roberts, Tim Jones & David Catty.

The HRL Morrison Music Trust was established in March 1995 as a charitable trust to support New Zealand musicians of international calibre. All funds received by the Trust are used to make recordings, present concerts – both in New Zealand and overseas – and assist artists to undertake projects to further develop their talents. More information about other releases by the HRL Morrison Music Trust can be found at the internet site: All rights of the producer and of the owner of the work reproduced are reserved. Unauthorised copying, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting of this recording is prohibited.


PIANO CONCERTO NO.1 IN C, OP.15 Allegro con brio Largo 3 Rondo: Allegro 1 2

18:50 12:01 9:30

PIANO CONCERTO NO.2 IN B FLAT, OP.19 Allegro con brio Adagio 6 Rondo: Allegro 4 5

Total Time

MMT2050 Live Stereo Recording  2003 HRL Morrison Music Trust  2003 HRL Morrison Music Trust

14:59 9:46 6:21 71:29

Beethoven: Piano Concertos 1 &2  

One of New Zealand's favourite pianists gives a compelling account of Beethoven's first two piano concertos, in a live recording with the Ch...

Beethoven: Piano Concertos 1 &2  

One of New Zealand's favourite pianists gives a compelling account of Beethoven's first two piano concertos, in a live recording with the Ch...