Although published after Piano Concerto No 1, Beethoven’s showy Piano Concerto No 2 in B-flat Major was composed first and begins this programme. It was first performed in Vienna in 1795, with Beethoven himself at the keyboard – a sparkling work that showed off the young composer’s considerable skill as a performer.
Piano Concerto No 1 in C Major is a bolder, more ambitious work, first performed in Prague in 1798, with Beethoven as the soloist once again.
Beethoven’s first two piano concertos are in the classical style and show the influence of Mozart – but they contain some daring harmonic twists and turns that prefigure the composer’s more adventurous and original later style.
Emmanuel Ax performs both works with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under the direction of chief conductor, David Robertson. The concert is streamed live at 10:20 GMT on 13 June 2014 (20:20 in Sydney, 11:20 in London, 06:20 in New York). You can watch a recording from this page at any time once it has finished.
On 18 June, the SSO and Emmanuel Ax will present Beethoven’s 3rd and 4th Piano Concertos and will perform Piano Concerto No 5 – ‘The Emperor’ – on 21 June. All the concerts will be available to watch live and on demand on BBC Culture.
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