Day 52 – Van Cliburn Beethoven “Emperor” Concerto (CD 52)

I’m not even going to wait for the “Subjective Stuff.”

This is gorgeous, gorgeous music.

When I think of Classical music, this is precisely what I think of. This is what my heart needs.

I’ve written it before: Mozart appeals to my head. Beethoven appeals to my heart. Bruckner appeals to my spirit.

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a piece of music by Beethoven that I didn’t like.

Especially when it’s played by world-class musicians like Van Cliburn and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by one of the greats: Fritz Reiner.

The Objective Stuff

For more about Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), visit his entry on Wikipedia.

For more about Harvey Lavan “Van” Cliburn (1934-2013), visit his entry on Wikipedia.

From its entry on Wikipedia,

The Piano Concerto No. 5 in E♭ major, Op. 73, by Ludwig van Beethoven, popularly known as the Emperor Concerto, was his last completed piano concerto. It was written between 1809 and 1811 in Vienna, and was dedicated to Archduke Rudolf, Beethoven’s patron and pupil. The first performance took place on 13 January 1811 at the Palace of Prince Joseph Lobkowitz in Vienna, with Archduke Rudolf as the soloist, followed by a public concert on 28 November 1811 at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig under conductor Johann Philipp Christian Schulz, the soloist being Friedrich Schneider. On 12 February 1812, Carl Czerny, another student of Beethoven’s, gave the Vienna debut of this work.

The epithet of Emperor for this concerto was not Beethoven’s own but was coined by Johann Baptist Cramer, the English publisher of the concerto. Its duration is approximately forty minutes.

Beethoven was between 39 and 41 years of age when he completed this concerto. It was recorded on May 4 and May 12 (or May 4-12, I can’t tell from the notation in the book that came with the box set), 1961. Van Cliburn was 27 years old when he performed this at Orchestra Hall, Chicago. Maestro Reiner was in his 73rd year of life when he conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The Subjective Stuff

Recording quality: 5
Overall musicianship: 5
CD booklet notes: 2
CD “album cover” information: 3 (not much there, but what is there is interesting)
How does this make me feel: 5

Every one of these movements offers something beautiful to hear.

The second (“Adagio un poco mosso”) is slow and lush.

The third (“Rondo – Allegro”) is lively and fun.

Every piece of this performance is perfectly recorded and exquisitely played.

I WILL listen to this album again.

And again.

And again.

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