Page 1




PIANO CONCERTO NO.3 IN C MINOR, OP.37 Allegro con brio Largo 3 Rondo: Allegro 1 2

17:29 11:11 9:41

PIANO CONCERTO NO.4 IN G, OP.58 Allegro moderato Andante con moto 6 Rondo: Vivace 4 5

Total Time

20:20 5:17 10:36 74:55

MMT2051 Live Stereo Recording  2004 HRL Morrison Music Trust  2004 HRL Morrison Music Trust Rita Angus (1908-1970), Untitled (Mountain biological station, Cass), 1936, watercolour, 228 x 290mm. Collection of the University of Canterbury, Christchurch. 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.

W. A. Sutton (1917-2000), High Noon at Cass, 1985, watercolour on paper, 384 x 517 mm. Private collection. Reproduced courtesy of Christchurch Art Gallery, Te Puna o Waiwhetu.


of vocal items as well. While heaping praise on his formidable technique as a performer and his

Like Mozart before him, Beethoven

extraordinary powers of improvisation, a

recognised that one of the surest ways of

number of Beethoven’s contemporaries

establishing a high musical profile in Vienna

clearly felt that he did not always play his

lay in performing concertos of his own

own music particularly well.

composition. These performances, at his

The scanty review of the concert in

own benefit concerts, did much to enhance

the Zeitung für die Elegante Welt had little

his reputation as a great virtuoso and, more

space to discuss the new piano concerto

significantly at the time, identified him in

but observed:

the eyes of many as the true heir to Mozart. The third piano concerto seems to have

“Less successful was the following Concerto in C minor which Hr.v.B., who is

been intended for a concert mounted by

otherwise known as an excellent pianist,

Beethoven in April 1800. The few extant

performed also not completely to the

sketches for the work are thought to date

public’s satisfaction.”

from as early as 1796-97 but the autograph

Beethoven’s first three piano concertos

score, dated 1800 by the composer, was

are clearly modelled on the great Mozart

obviously not completed in time for the

concertos of the 1780s, among the most

concert since Beethoven played the first

perfect works written in any genre. The

concerto instead.

direct inspiration for the third concerto is

The premiere of the new work – with

clearly Mozart’s own C minor concerto

Beethoven as soloist – finally took place

(K.491) completed just over a decade

on 5 April 1803 in a mammoth concert

earlier. The two works are nonetheless

which also included the first and second

fundamentally dissimilar in musical

symphonies, the whole of his new oratorio

structure and character. The fatalism

Christus am Ölberg and probably a number

which pervades much of Mozart’s work

is transformed into the sternly heroic in

reminiscent of Beethoven’s former teacher,


Joseph Haydn.

The first movement opens with a strong, triadic, unison theme, which

Between the completion of the third piano concerto in 1800 and its

provides much of the thematic material for

premiere three years later, Beethoven’s

the rest of the movement. Beethoven’s

compositional style underwent a radical

development of this material, along with

transformation. Whereas in his early

his handling both of the solo part and

years in Vienna the composer’s musical

orchestra, reveals a far more experienced

thinking was dominated by the piano, it

composer than that of the first concerto.

was the symphony which influenced

Odd influences from Mozart show through,

virtually everything he wrote in the

notably in the reintroduction of the piano

period immediately following the turn of

after the cadenza, but the character of

the century. It is hardly surprising in the

the movement remains quintessentially

circumstances, that when the composer

Beethoven. The beautifully tranquil slow movement, cast in the unexpected key

of the ‘Eroica’ symphony returned to the composition of piano concertos later in the decade, he found the Mozartian model

of E major, exploits one of Beethoven’s

which had served him so well in his first

most celebrated strengths as a pianist;

three concertos inadequate to the task

the ability to play slow, sustained lyrical

of accommodating his greatly enlarged

themes. By way of contrast, the finale, a

musical vision.

lengthy sonata-rondo movement with a curiously intense, driving theme, demands

The fourth piano concerto was completed in March 1806, but Beethoven’s

great dexterity from the performer. The

preoccupation with the revision of his opera

transformation of the theme towards the

Fidelio meant that there was little time to

end of the movement provides yet another

organise a performance that season. A

link back to Mozart’s work although its

year later, Prince Lobkowitz promoted two

quirky good humour is perhaps more

concerts in his palace in Vienna dedicated

entirely to Beethoven’s music; in addition to

eloquence that only gradually reveals its

the new concerto, the first four symphonies


were performed along with the overture to

The Andante con moto perhaps

Collin’s play Coriolan and several arias from

reveals best how Beethoven’s attitudes

Fidelio. The fourth piano concerto, unlike the

had changed since composing the third concerto. In place of the conventional,

third, finds its source of inspiration almost

lyrical slow movement, Beethoven writes

exclusively in Beethoven’s own works.

what amounts to a terse interlude-cum-

Nearly every element of style ranging from

preparation for the Finale in the same

rhythmic patterns to orchestral texture,

manner as in the ‘Waldstein’ sonata. The

betrays strong links with compositions

alternation of two strongly opposed musical

Beethoven was working on around the

ideas in this movement has prompted

same time. Although he was to complete

a great deal of speculation from writers

one further concerto and begin a sixth,

searching for extra-musical significance

the great G major concerto was the last in

in Beethoven’s music: long after the

which Beethoven appeared as soloist.

composer’s death the German critic Adolph

Much has been made of Beethoven’s striking opening of the work with the soloist, but, as in the concerto Mozart wrote for Mlle Jeunehomme many years

Bernhard Marx suggested that it depicted Orpheus taming the Furies. The flamboyant Rondo, which sees the addition of trumpets and timpani to

earlier, the solo instrument is quickly

the score, is more in keeping with the

replaced by a more or less conventional

spirit of the earlier concertos although it

orchestral introduction. What is more

too contains a breadth of vision which is

unexpected, given the character of much of

substantially new. The music no longer

Beethoven’s ‘middle period’ music, is the

sounds like Mozart and Haydn in rough

unexpected temper of the movement; the

habit: it is unmistakably Beethoven in all the

Allegro moderato unfolds with a persuasive

majesty of his full maturity.

DIEDRE IRONS Diedre Irons was born in Winnipeg, Canada. As a child prodigy she came to the attention of Russian-born composer/ violinist/pianist Sophie-Carmen (Sonia) Eckhardt-Gramatté, whose master pupil she became. At the age of 18 she made her official début with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra playing Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Winds. After graduating from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Diedre Irons 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. Diedre Irons was awarded an MBE for services to music in 1989. She was Senior Lecturer in Piano at the University of Canterbury until the end of 2003; in 2004 she took up the position of Head of Piano Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, 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 Ewan Clark. 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 Untitled (Mountain biological station, 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. Untitled (Mountain biological station, Cass) captures the isolation of a tiny settlement in the Southern Alps with its small railway station 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.

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 3 & 4 MMT2051 Live Stereo Recording  2004 HRL Morrison Music Trust  2004 HRL Morrison Music Trust Recorded live at the Christchurch Town Hall, New Zealand, in association with AMI Insurance and Concert FM, during 14 & 15 June, 27 & 28 September, 2003. Production Wayne Laird Recording Engineer Noel Maginnity 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, John Gow, Neil Roberts, Justine Cormack, Tim Jones and 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. Also available in this series MMT2050 BEETHOVEN – PIANO CONCERTOS 1 & 2 DIEDRE IRONS CHRISTCHURCH SYMPHONY MARC TADDEI


PIANO CONCERTO NO.3 IN C MINOR, OP.37 Allegro con brio Largo 3 Rondo: Allegro 1 2

17:29 11:11 9:41

PIANO CONCERTO NO.4 IN G, OP.58 Allegro moderato Andante con moto 6 Rondo: Vivace 4 5

20:20 5:17 10:36

Total Time 74:55MMT2051 Live Stereo Recording2004 HRL Morrison Music Trust2004 HRL Morrison Music Trust

Beethoven: Piano Concertos 3 & 4  

The complete cycle of Beethoven's piano concertos continues with this live recording of the third and fourth concertos. The third concerto i...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you