Beethoven's C-Minor Piano Concerto
Young Beethoven had applied to and been accepted by Mozart as a pupil, but B learned of his mother's impending death on his way to join M, so the two never met. However, B's appreciation of M's genius can be heard especially in the early piano concertos. The Third Concerto marks the point at which B's voice emerges fully from M's influence. It is, as one would imagine, a beautiful metamorphosis.
We usually try to keep this short, but there is one more story we would like to add. At the premier of this concerto, B, who was to perform the solo, had not yet completed the composition. His pupil Ignaz von Seyfried observed:
I saw empty pages with here and there what looked like Egyptian hieroglyphs, unintelligible to me, scribbled to serve as clues for him. He played most of his part from memory, since, obviously, he had put so little on paper. So, whenever he reached the end of some invisible passage, he gave me a surreptitious nod and I turned the page. My anxiety not to miss such a nod amused him greatly and the recollection of it at our convivial dinner after the concert sent him into gales of laughter.
Mitsuko Uchida joins the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Kurt Sanderling directs.