“Beethoven’s instrumental music opens to us the realm of the monstrous and immeasurable. Glowing rays shoot through the deep night of this realm, and we sense giant shadows surging to and fro, closing in on us until they destroy us, but not the pain of unending longing in which every desire that has risen quickly in joyful tones sinks and expires. Only with this pain of love, hope, joy...we live on, enchanted seers of the ghostly world!” – E.T.A. Hoffmann on Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, performed here by Sir Simon Rattle. Next, Sir András Schiff plays and conducts Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto: an unforgettable moment! The composer began writing his first concerto in the 1790s at the same time that he was teaching piano to two young noblewomen to make a living. Among his students was Barbara de Keglevics (nicknamed “Babette”), to whom he dedicated this work.
Photo: © Aline Paley
Lucerne Festival 2004