Beethoven: Triple Concerto & Piano Concerto No.0

Beethoven: Triple Concerto & Piano Concerto No.0
Composer Ludwig van Beethoven
Artist Ekaterina Litvintseva piano
Lusiné Harutyunyan violin
Benedict Kloeckner cello
Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen
Vahan Mardirossian conductor
Format 1 CD
Cat. number 96483
EAN code 5028421964836
Release December 2021

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About this release

Beethoven’s Triple Concerto Op.56 for piano, violin, cello and orchestra was unique in the musical literature, and he knew it: he proudly wrote to his publisher that the combination of a piano trio with an orchestra was entirely new. But the innovations go beyond the combination of concertante instruments, extending as well to the importance accorded the orchestra, elevated to the status of an equal, symphonic protagonist alongside the three solo parts alone, in all possible pairings and as a threesome. This was new, and the audience was indeed perplexed when the work was first performed in Vienna in May 1804. There is no indication that the concerto was performed a second time during Beethoven’s lifetime.

The Piano Concerto in E-flat “Number Zero” (WoO 4) is a work rarely performed and therefore practically unknown to the wider public. Written by Beethoven in 1784, at the tender age of 14, it comes down to us as an unsigned 32-page manuscript with the author’s corrections: the solo piano part and the piano reduction of the orchestra parts are completely preserved, but the orchestral score itself has been lost.

This manuscript was discovered in 1890 in the archives of the Artaria Foundation and was transferred to the Berlin State Library. It was published that same year by Breitkopf und Härtel. Beethoven researcher Willy Hess later restored the orchestral parts on the basis of the preserved material. The first outing of this careful, accurate work was given in 1934 by the pianist Walter Frey in Oslo (first part only), and the complete reconstruction was performed in 1968 at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Despite being one of Beethoven’s most “youthful” compositions, which are generally written in the style of classical composers of the late 18th century, it already contains a number of original features characteristic of the composer’s work. Still, the whole work is steeped in youthful enthusiasm and optimism. In the absence of original cadenzas, which are not extant, Litvintseva created her own, guided by her knowledge, performing experience and, of course, the Concerto’s style.

The Triple Concerto Op.56 for Piano, Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra in C major is unique in musical literature, and Beethoven (1770-1827) was well aware of this: as he proudly wrote to his publisher, the combination of a piano trio with an orchestra was entirely new. The main innovations are his choice of solo instruments and the importance accorded the orchestra, which is elevated to the status of an equal, symphonic partner of the three solo instruments. The solo instruments enjoy ample freedom, either following each other’s entries, playing together, or having an intimate private dialogue with the orchestra.
Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 0 WoO 4 in E-flat is a work rarely performed and therefore practically unknown to the wide public. It was written by Beethoven back in 1784, when he was only 14 years old. Written in the style of classical composers of the late 18th century, it already contains a number of original and characteristic features of the composer's later works, especially in the brilliant and virtuoso piano writing.
Ekaterina Litvintseva is one of the most remarkable pianists of her generation. Her recordings won her enthusiastic acclaim in the international press: “a notable moment in the history of Chopin interpretation” (Fanfare); “a sense of spontaneous invention” in Mozart’s K271 (Gramophone) and “an expressive depth” in Brahms’s 1st Piano Concerto (BBC Music Magazine). On this recording her partners are equally distinguished soloists: violinist Lusiné Harutyunyan and cellist Benedict Kloeckner, who already appeared on Piano Classics in cello sonatas by Chopin and Franck.

Other information:
Recorded in April of 2021, Reutlingen, Germany
Booklet contains notes on the concertos by musicologist Werner Pfister and pianist Ekaterina Litvintseva, along with biographies of the artists
Lusineì Harutyunyan plays a Giuseppe Ceruti violin
Benedict Kloeckner plays the F. Rugeri “ex Maurice Gendron” cello (1680)

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Ludwig van Beethoven: Triple Concerto in C Major, Op. 56: I. Allegro
  2. Ludwig van Beethoven: Triple Concerto in C Major, Op. 56: II. Largo
  3. Ludwig van Beethoven: Triple Concerto in C Major, Op. 56: III. Rondo alla polacca
  4. Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 0 in E-Flat Major, WoO 4: I. Allegro
  5. Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 0 in E-Flat Major, WoO 4: II. Larghetto
  6. Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 0 in E-Flat Major, WoO 4: III. Rondo