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Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 5 "Emperor" & 0

Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 5 "Emperor" & 0

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These works share the common key of E flat major but represent two very different stages in the composer’s life. The Piano Concerto "No. 0," WoO 4, was written when Beethoven was 13 years old and is one of his earliest works. With the orchestral score lost, this extant version for piano solo written in Beethoven’s hand includes the tutti sections reduced for piano. The radiant ‘Emperor’ Concerto shows the 38-year-old Beethoven at the peak of his creative powers, and remains a glorious example of his spirit triumphing over life’s adversities.


Boris Giltburg’s recording of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto is offered with a scintillating twist, the ‘other’ E-flat concerto composed when the composer was 13. This brings Giltburg’s Beethoven concerto cycle to a close, his ebullience and physicality the reverse of plain-speaking, brilliantly partnered by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic under Vasily Petrenko.

Given such forces this is never simply ‘another’ Emperor, but one boldly and exuberantly conceived. Giltburg makes you listen with new ears to one of the most familiar and greatly loved works in the repertoire. The Piano Concerto No 0 (played in Beethoven’s original piano reduction) may be a protracted jeu d’esprit, but Giltburg’s relish of its tonic, virtuoso aplomb sets the pulse racing. Naxos soundworld is of an exceptional clarity and focus.

-- International Piano

Excellent performances of the Emperor and the rarely heard Concerto No. 0. The sound reproduction on this Naxos CD is vivid and well balanced. Those looking for an excellent performance of the Emperor and who are attracted to its lesser coupling, will certainly find this a most rewarding disc.

-- MusicWeb International

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Naxos Regular CD
    • UPC/Barcode: 747313415373
    • Item Number: 8574153