Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 „Emperor” in E-flat major V.
Richard Strauss: An Alpine Symphony, Op. 64
Our orchestra is nearly 210 years old, and the genre of their repertoire is represented by composers like Ludwig van Beethoven born 250 years ago. The evocation of these numbers is no coincidence. The resident orchestra of the Kodály Centre, which itself turned 10 years old in December, sends the following message to Müpa’s audience: mankind has experienced numerous cataclysms in the past centuries, but symphony orchestras were active even during the darkest of times.
The double Kossuth Prize- and Liszt Prize-winning pianist Dezső Ránki interprets Beethoven’s grandiose „Emperor” Piano Concerto, which allows the soloist to perform an extraordinarily majestic and emotional solo part. The concerto’s by-name „Emperor” stands for the royal presence of the piano within the orchestra. Beethoven’s Piano Concert No. 5 in E-flat major is one of the largest scales concertos of its era. This time it is conducted by Tibor Bogányi.
As Dezső Ránki recalled in the interview made with Librarius in connection with his concert in Müpa: „I played this piece for the first time when I was twenty. Since then more than sixty times, but it gives me the same uplifting sensation on each occasion.”
Pannon Philharmonic will first perform this concert on 9 December, the memorial day of their 1811 foundation and on 10th birthday of the Kodály Centre. It was Dezső Ránki who took to the stage on the opening concert 10 years ago, thus his person connects the elated and sublime climate of the two concerts.
The concert programme could be characterised with elatedness, ambition and grand-scale composition techniques. Beethoven so inclined to pathos penned this grand overture somewhat influenced by earlier composers; it is followed by his piano concerto known as “Emperor”. The audience is taken on a monumental musical outing in the Alps written by Richard Strauss. Both composers gave the best of themselves in these compositions; they both tried to capture the audience with the entire arsenal of their talents. The Consecration of the House Overture was written to celebrate the opening of Vienna’s new Theatre in the Josefstadt. Even though this occasion did not affect Beethoven very deeply, he applied a range of composition tools to express pathos: in addition to the brass fanfares just as well as a Baroque double counterpoint quite atypical for Beethoven. The Piano Concerto No. 5 is his last and at the same time most grandiose piano concerto featuring a very elevated and emotional piano part. It is no coincidence that it was later given the epithet “Emperor”, as the piano has a majestic presence in the orchestra. Richard Strauss’s tone poem An Alpine Symphony also bursts with ambitions; its performance requires a symphony orchestra of not less than 109 members including even a wind machine. According to the enthusiastic biographer of Strauss, Richard Specht, if an earthquake was to destroy the marvellous landscape of the Alps, Strauss’s tone poem safe-kept by the music scores would still „depict” the Alpine landscape faithfully. The composition tells the story of a journey in the mountains. This way, we can trek in the Alps in just one night without stiff muscles.
„THERE IS NO NEED FOR MAGIC. WHAT’S NEEDED IS DEZSŐ RÁNKI’S CALIBRE, […] WHO ESTABLISHES OR RATHER SHOWCASES THE LOGIC, UNITY OF THE PIECE WITHOUT ANY KIND OF WIZARDRY. HE DOESN’T ONLY PLAY BUT JUSTIFIES EVERY SINGLE NOTE. EVERYTHING SEEMS COMPLETELY SIMPLE AND NATURAL, AS IF ANY OF US COULD PLAY IT LIKE THIS, IF WE HAD THE RIGHT SKILLS. AND PERHAPS IT’S TRUE. IT’S ONLY THAT NOT ALL OF US HAVE THE RIGHT SKILLS, NEARLY NONE OF US HAS.” (MIKLÓS FÁY)
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