Beethoven: Triple Concerto
Stephen Johnson explores Beethoven's Triple Concerto, Op. 56, a work which broke new ground with its combining of a piano trio with an orchestra.
Beethoven composed his Triple Concerto, Op. 56, during an intensely creative period when he was also working on his opera Fidelio, the Waldstein piano sonata, and the Eroica symphony. Yet, Beethoven made the point to his publishers that here in the Triple Concerto was something new.
It was composed for Beethoven's young piano pupil Archduke Rudolph to perform, with the violinist Seidler and the celebrated virtuoso cellist Anton Kraft, for whom Haydn had composed a cello concerto two decades earlier. Although the cello takes slightly more prominence in the Triple Concerto, it was a novelty at the time to combine a piano trio with orchestra, and also give the orchestra equal importance.
Stephen Johnson takes a look at this work which broke new ground, yet despite its freshness, after its Viennese premiere in 1808, was never performed again in Beethoven's lifetime.