Barenboim on Beethoven 7: The Fourth Piano Concerto II
A film by Christopher Nupen
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The remarkable Fourth Piano Concerto concludes with Daniel Barenboim alongside Sir Adrian Boult and the New Philharmonia Orchestra. The second movement, often considered to parallel the Orpheus myth (though Beethoven himself did not draw the comparison), evokes a stirring dialogue between “the opposite extremes of Beethoven”: what Barenboim calls “a dramatic, energetic, almost bestial orchestra” and the “angelic, naïve statements of the piano.”
Barenboim praises the architecture of the concerto and shows us how the “relation of the detail to the whole… contains the greatest possible beauty.” A transition of “perfect symmetry” leads into the final movement, a highly rhythmic Rondo that begins in C major before finding its way back to the G major tonic—a rare key for Beethoven, often associated with “lightness and grace” according to Lewis Lockwood, and one he never used for a symphony or a late piano sonata.