Piano Concerto No. 1 (Beethoven)

The Piano Concerto No. 1, in C major, Op 15 is an early piano concerto by Ludwig van Beethoven. On the one hand, Beethoven oriented here in the early models of the Viennese Classic, on the other hand can be here already his later handwriting recognize.


The work was written 1795-1801 and was not actually the first concerto, which Beethoven composed. From the Bonn time two concerts without opus number ( E flat major and D major ) and which is known as Piano Concerto No. 2 plant derived, he composed at the piano concerto op 15 So seems this concert even bigger and more symphonic than the more subdued Piano Concerto No. 2. Beethoven used here for the first time timpani, clarinets and trumpets in the instrumentation of the orchestra. The proximity to the predecessor model and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is in some places still clearly audible, although Beethoven here unmistakably established his own style.

About the Music

1st movement: Allegro con brio

1 set ( file? )

The first movement begins with a piano presented orchestral exposition, which will be continued shortly afterwards in tutti. It has character and march is supported by the timpani. Also, a second, cantabile theme is presented in the orchestra, it sounds surprising at first in E Flat Major, before it modulates to the minor. A march -like postscript also leads to the use of the solo instrument. The piano now performs the musical processing of the thematic material, without getting lost in the virtuous end in itself. The implementation turns quickly to minor and edited two issues in a variety of ways. An orchestral climax finally leads to the recapitulation to the detailed and virtuosic cadenza. This discloses Beethoven's already very far advanced, sophisticated piano technique, which goes for example via the normally to be found in Mozart degree of virtuosity. A short postscript concludes the first set.

2nd movement: Largo

2nd set ( file? )

The Largo in A flat major is one of the early records of Beethoven, which already contain a great deal of grandeur and solemn mood. The large set is designed in free song form. The lyrical theme is rapidly taken up and continued by the piano. The piano and the vocal theme varies figured now alternating with the orchestra on lyrical and noble manner.

3rd movement: Rondo, allegro scherzando

3rd set ( file? )

The final Rondo is a dance and folk-like character. The Solokolavier begins with the presentation of the main theme, which is repeated by the full orchestra. Below is a side issue, which also has folksong-like character. The whole Rondo recalls in his humorous way to end sentences Joseph Haydn, but has been typical of Beethoven sharper accents on. The coda is holding a not unusual for Beethoven surprise ready, because what is happening seems to fade away in piano before a final concise Forte outbreak of the orchestra sets the final accent.


Beethoven introduced the C major Piano Concerto on April 2, 1800 at the Burgtheater in Vienna for the first time on and took over the piano part in this concert. In an anecdote regarding this premiere it says that Beethoven had the concert played by heart in C sharp major, since he had not noticed just before the opening of the Piano Concerto that the wing is tuned a semitone too low. Perhaps there was already performances of the 1st and 2nd piano concerto in 1798 in Prague, which can not be fully understood. The final minutes of the first more improvised solo voice was not until the printing of 1801. Eight years later, Beethoven composed three cadenzas for the concerto, the pianist is optional which he chooses. The pianist Glenn Gould composed his own cadenza for this concerto.

This early concert enjoys today as a testimony earlier Beethoven's creativity and expressiveness, a favorite among pianists and conductors. It overlooks the Piano Concerto No. 2 in popularity and is considered the predecessor of the later and larger sinfonischeren concerts. He dedicated this work to his student Babette Countess of Keglevich de Buzin.