BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No.3



Ludwig van Beethoven (Dec 1770 - Mar 1827)

Composed In



36 minutes


Piano, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns and 2 trumpets, timpani and strings.


Generally thought to have been composed in 1800, this concerto was first performed in April 1803, with the composer as soloist. During the same performance, the Second Symphony and the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives were also premiered. The composition was dedicated to Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia.


About the Composition

Movement I – Allegro con brio: The first movement opens unexpectedly with a bare statement of the shockingly intense theme. A rich exposition follows, almost a movement in itself, in which themes are brought out and developed, leading to an expansive development. The recapitulation sets up a heightened sense of drama to lead into the cadenza, then culminates in a brilliant climax before bringing the movement to an end.

Movement II – Largo: This slow second movement is solemn, stately, and contemplative. A solo entry gains in force and passion, progressing to an orchestral declamation. The appearance of new thematic material alternates between the piano and the orchestra. The opening melody reappears and usher in the appearance of a broad Coda with its expressive Cadenza.

Movement III – Rondo – Allegro: In this wonderfully expansive finale, the piano and orchestra state the brilliant principal subject then the alternating subjects, whose different characters are explored in turn. Each of them was brought about by a restatement of the original theme. This movement completes a work of great force and passion.


Fun Facts about the Composer

  • Hated giving piano lessons, only making exceptions for truly talented students, or young attractive women regardless of talent.
  • His father was an alcoholic, and would often beat and abuse him for playing wrong notes.
  • Suffered from illnesses throughout his life, and most notably, deafness.
  • After losing his hearing, he still had his perfect pitch and continued composing until his death.
  • Had a notoriously bad temper, often stopping his performances if he noticed anyone in the audience talking.


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