Beethoven was a master at opening a concerto. He understood that the concerto is a form of theater. He played with the expectations of his audience. He would shock them. Surprise them. And in doing so, create original masterpieces. Beethoven made great music by breaking the rules. And nowhere does he play by his own rules more dramatically than in the hushed, poetic opening of his 4th Piano Concerto.

Beethoven composed this groundbreaking concerto in 1805-06., and performed it in a private concert at Prince Lobkowitz's residence in Vienna, before giving the public premiere at the Theater an der Wien on December 22, 1808. No concerto before, by Beethoven or anyone else, began as the G major does, with the solo instrument playing unaccompanied in a sweet and soft manner. The G major Concerto was the last such work Beethoven composed for his own use. He gave the public premiere at the Theatre an der Wien on December 22, 1808. It was his last appearance as soloist with an orchestra.

Beethoven Piano Concerto in G Major Opus 58
Mov't 1 Artur Schnabel/Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Frederick Stock

Mov't 1 Daniel Barenboim /New Philharmonia Orchestra/Klemperer

Mov't 2 Leon Fleisher/Cleveland Orcehstra/George Szell
CBS M3K 42445

Mov't 3 Emanuel Ax/Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Previn
RCA Classics 74321-17890-2