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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 'Emperor'

20 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 13 December 2011

Stephen Johnson explores the history and musical mechanics of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 'Emperor'.

The title might have been added by others, but Beethoven's masterpiece has always been obscured by the debate surrounding its supposed imperialist intentions: a heroic concerto, written with a Napoleonic spirit. Not only does this fly in the face of the composer's own sympathies, but it's also disguised the genius of Beethoven's writing. Stephen Johnson shifts the focus back to the music, and uncovers the radical innovations under the surface of Beethoven's craft.


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