Ludwig van Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano in C major, op. 56 is the best-known Triple Concerto in the history of music. This appealing composition enables all the soloists to show off their virtuosity.
The composer dedicated this work to Prince Franz Joseph Lobkowitz, his patron, student and supposedly quite a talented pianist. The concerto was composed in 1803 and published a year later. The first performance did not take place until 1808, when it was played at the Palais Augarten in the district of Leopoldstadt in Vienna. The extended first movement begins quietly, almost timidly, but over time the composition becomes more and more powerful, emphasized by the frequent use of punctuated rhythm that is characteristic of court music. In the short second movement, the role of the piano is limited to a discreet accompaniment, and the main material is presented by the violin and the cello. The Largo smoothly moves into the last part of the concerto, Rondo alla polacca, in which Polish listeners will easily identify the tense rhythm of the polonaise. This dance was commonly associated by the audience of the time with royal music. In such a solemn context, it was previously used by other German composers, most notably by Johann Sebastian Bach.
The first performance of Sinfonietta No. 3 “Mahler in Manhattan” written by Joseph Swensen, the artistic director of the NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra, will surely add some spice to the first part of the evening. The audience will also hear the first European performance of Michael Brown’s Piano Concerto with the composer performing the piano part.