The Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 37, is the third installment of Ludwig van Beethoven's collection of five piano concertos. While this concerto maintains a classical formal balance, it deviates from the Mozartian model set by the first two concertos, and with its tonality of C minor, it anticipates the future emotional depth and expressiveness of Romanticism. Comprised of three movements, it showcases an intensified dramatic presence, enhanced by the virtuosic performance of the solo piano. The key of C minor served as a profound wellspring of inspiration for Beethoven, as during the time of this concerto, he had already conceived his renowned "Pathétique" Sonata and his String Quartet No. 4, Op. 18. Thus later, under the influence of the Third Concerto, Beethoven would envision his monumental Fifth Symphony, famously known as the Fate Symphony.
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The well-known deafness that afflicted Beethoven in the later years of his life has cemented him as a symbol of the artist who knows no boundaries, be they physical or spiritual, to his art. However, the story of his Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37, sheds light on the composer's practice of playing music from memory, as if it were dictated by a silent voice—a habit that had accompanied him for much longer. In fact, Ignaz von Seyfried, a contemporary of Beethoven, wrote that during the premiere of the Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37, Beethoven "played the main part almost entirely from memory because he had not had time, as often happened, to write it out completely." This resulted in the work not being particularly well-received at its premiere. Nevertheless, today the Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 is one of the most cherished pieces of classical music and has been performed by artists such as Maria João Pires, Mikhail Pletnev, Alfred Brendel, and many others! Discover these legendary interpretations in our recent concerts and stunning archive videos, available for streaming on medici.tv!