Listening guide

Spotlight on…. BEETHOVEN

Beethoven, Piano Concerto no. 5 in Eb – ‘Emperor’

One of the most iconic composers of classical music, Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827) was a child prodigy and, his first piece of music (which is speculated to have been composed when he was 12 years old) is extremely difficult to play!

Beethoven started to lose his hearing when he was around 25 years old. This didn’t stop him though from writing what remains considered as some of the finest orchestral and instrumental music.

Even those who argue “they don’t know any classical music” know Beethoven. Don’t believe us? Have a listen to the first 30 seconds of Beethoven’s Symphony no.5: (INSERT MUSIC HERE)


Aside from these two beautiful symphonies, Beethoven also wrote nine concertos (an orchestral work featuring a solo instrument) – and five of these feature a piano as the soloist. Beethoven composed his fifth concerto, ‘Emperor’ (don’t ask why it’s called Emperor… noone really knows!), in 1811 in Vienna. This concerto is for piano and orchestra and it is stunning.

It comprises three movements (or standalone musical sections):

I) Allegro (lively and fast)

2) Adagio un poco mosso (Slowly and with a little less movement)

3) Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo (Recurring theme: lively and fast, but not too lively and fast!)

Many classical audiences will argue that you should not clap between movements, so the best tip we can give if you’re listening live, is to wait until someone claps before you start… just in case! But, others argue there’s no reason not to clap between music. So if you’re going to clap – make it loud and proud!

To hear this beautiful work live, don’t miss the concert 7 November with our friends at the Orchestra Corda Spiritus. Click here for more information.