Starting the second half of our great Beethoven series, Boris Berezovsky returns with the Fourth Piano Concerto and Beethoven’s own version of the Violin Concerto arranged with the piano as the solo instrument. Boris’s earlier contributions to the series have been very well received indeed, and the Russian virtuoso has more up his sleeve.
Quite a night for Beethoven fans
Beethoven wrote the piano concertos with himself in mind as soloist, the fourth was in fact the last one to be premiered with Beethoven at the piano. This was of course due to this growing deafness in later years. But on the 22nd of December 1808 he was in charge of a magnificent concerto, containing the premieres of the fifth and sixth symphonies, the Choral Fantasy, parts of the Mass in C and the fourth piano concerto.
Adaptation to get more performances
Beethoven’s editor Muzio Clementi (yes, the one with the sonatinas…) persuaded him to make a transcription of the violin concerto with the piano as solo instrument when making an agreement for publishing in England. The reasoning behind this request was simply to get more performances of the work, as piano concertos was by far the most popular genre at the time. In fact, we owe it to this transcription that we have a cadenza for this concerto, as Beethoven made one for first movement of the piano version, while leaving it out in the original.
Just listen to that Boris…music in the moment
Capturing the music of the moment, Boris Berezovsky is an unconventional artist in 2005. His name always pops up when the term ‘virtuoso’ is being discussed, of course based on the total control of musical expression and instrument that he displays. And coming from the great Russian tradition, his approach may differ from the western way of doing things these days. What is perhaps the most fascinating in Boris’ Beethoven-playing is how he manages to conjure up such intensity and focus within the historically informed framework being set up by Dausgaard and the SwCO, resulting in relentless and always informing and interesting moments of music.