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Serge
11-25-2000, 08:50 AM
Well, here's an unassuming B. composition if ever there was one! In a most perfectly ordinary key, tempo, or virtuosity, Beethoen writes a concerto that does not stretch the bounds of the form, at least in compare to his other concerto work. Why was it so simple and good-natured in spirit? I'm not belittling it, of course; I love the easygoing nature of it and think it is one of is most hummable/whistle-able, simply plain-old enjoyable pieces he'd ever written.

Peter
11-25-2000, 12:24 PM
Actually B did stretch the form in the first movement,which was the longest he had attempted in concerto form (lasting around 17mins) - It was written just after the Eroica and the Waldstein sonata , i.e at a time when B was expanding sonata form.
The slow movement is a gem, really beautiful - there are 2 points Beethoven is generally criticised on in this work - the ineffective orchestration in the development section of 1st movement, and the rather contrived ending of the Rondo (the usual explanation given here is that B was tired of the work and dashed it off in a hurry) - It deserves to be more popular - as you say Serge , 'it is one of his most hummable/whistle-able, simply plain-old enjoyable pieces he'd ever written.'


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'Man know thyself'

Michael
11-25-2000, 02:18 PM
Beethoven set himself a real problem with this work. In order to qualify as a "concerto", the form had to follow the fairly rigid specifications that such a piece entails and that is complicated enough for a single instrument. After the orchestral exposition the main theme has to be given to three instruments, so B had to keep his themes as simple as possible, but even then he avoids the obvious and gives the first entry to the cello, and does so in all the later movements.
It was quite a feat to set off a complete piano trio against an orchestra and the work has never been given its due place in the canon. The common criticism is the "plainess" of the material but the same charges could be levelled against the Fifth Symphony, the last piano sonata and countless others.
Two or three years ago, however, it started to come into its own and a good few recordings emerged, but the real problem, I think, is that it hasn't had enough concert-hall exposure. I suppose it's too expensive to perform at an orchestral concert as you need three soloists instead of one.
My favourite recording is still the old one with the Istomin-Stern-Rose trio with the Philadelphia conducted by Ormandy.

Michael

PDG
11-25-2000, 05:40 PM
One of the great things about this site is that when someone mentions a particular work, one feels compelled, nee obliged!, to listen to it again, without delay.

I love the Triple Concerto. Surely, its apparent simplicity is relative - consider the works being composed around the same time as, or even simultaneously to, the Triple - the `Eroica`, the `Appassionata`, the violin concerto, etc. Perhaps Beethoven was `letting his hair down`, and saving his real mental muscle for his other contemporary pieces. Also, as we know, the Triple was written for Archduke Rudolph who was not a virtuoso pianist, and yet, although the piano part is not over-taxing, the `cello and violin parts do not obviously outshine it. I think that this is one of Beethoven`s underestimated strengths: his natural empathy for the balance among instuments. The work would not be so successful as a rearranged Double Concerto, for example.

The advantage with the `Triple` is that it is a good work to use for introducing new Beethoven fans to both his concerto music and his `middle period`, without frightening them off!

As Michael says, the Istomin/Stern/Rose Sony recording is perhaps the benchmark, but I prefer the recent Naxos offering; one really can hear every note; and when you think that this recording is coupled with the piano version of the violin concerto (wich some record companies claim to be PIANO CONCERTO NO. 6!), It really does represent great value. I highly recommend it.

Rod
11-25-2000, 05:40 PM
Originally posted by Serge:
Well, here's an unassuming B. composition if ever there was one! In a most perfectly ordinary key, tempo, or virtuosity, Beethoen writes a concerto that does not stretch the bounds of the form, at least in compare to his other concerto work. Why was it so simple and good-natured in spirit? I'm not belittling it, of course; I love the easygoing nature of it and think it is one of is most hummable/whistle-able, simply plain-old enjoyable pieces he'd ever written.

I have to agree with you about the sheer good-spiritedness of this work. The best concert I ever attended (at the Queen Elisabeth Hall, London)involved the performance of this piece, a rare event in itself. Everyone in the orchestra looked happy (for once), that the applause at the end was fantastic, and I went home in a good mood (for once). Every commentry I have read about this work has been unable to resist belittling it. The proof is always in the listening and not some superficial analysis of the score!

Rod


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Peter
11-25-2000, 08:39 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
but even then he avoids the obvious and gives the first entry to the cello, and does so in all the later movements.
It was quite a feat to set off a complete piano trio against an orchestra and the work has never been given its due place in the canon.
Michael


And what an inspired entry that is with the discords in the accompaniment - reminds me of the unexpected repeated D#s in the first movement of the Violin concerto.
This work was one of 2 experiments with unusual combinations and orchestra, the other being the Choral Fantasia - of the 2, I find the Triple concerto the more succesful.

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'Man know thyself'