Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 37, 1st movement
In this piano masterclass, Professor Denis Pascal and student Josqin Otal explore the first part of the piano concerto No. 3, 1st movement by Ludwig van Beethoven.
Pascal first instructs his student to play with power, but not too loudly. A logical progression through the movement is necessary. Otal’s sound must also vary, and he must strive to structure his nuances, dynamics, and articulation better.
Moreover, Pascal also advises him to relax and establish a connection with his piano, and to always pay attention to the surrounding orchestra. Both hands must be in harmony and Otal must better anticipate his transitions. The Professor stresses the importance of not being afraid, and keeping the tempo and pulsation.
Finding the right pulsation and tempo.
Balance between the two hands.
Being as relaxed as possible.
Structuring the nuances, dynamics, and articulation.
Being powerful without being too loud.
The composition date of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor is unclear, though it is believed to have been written around 1800. It was not premiered until 1803, during which time the performer complained that the score contained confusing markings and empty pages. The piece received a second premiere a year later that proceeded with much less drama. While Beethoven’s first two piano concertos were Classical in nature, reminiscent of those by Mozart, the third concerto shows signs of a more personal voice. It is possible that the darker emotion in the work stems from his panic over his declining hearing, or that some of the militaristic qualities in the work drew inspiration from the French Revolution.
Whatever the impetus, the concerto is a deeply important part of the piano repertoire.
The first movement, Allegro con brio, opens darkly and rhythmically, but is soon contrasted by a lyrical melody in a major key. Beethoven wrote a thrilling cadenza for this work, but many composers have since written alternate ones that many performers choose to play instead. The second movement, Largo, is in the unexpected key of E major and gives the audience a reprieve from the darkness of the work with beautiful, serene melodies. The final movement, Rondo - Allegro, resumes a tempestuous quality, cycling through complex passage work and moods, before concluding with a delightful C major coda.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this piano masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Pascal Denis’ feedback and comments.
His monographic disc devoted to Jean Wiener for Sisyphe won a Diapason d'Or.
Denis Pascal performs in France and throughout the world as a soloist and chamber musician. He has made numerous appearances in the United States in venues such as: Lincoln Center and Merkin Hall in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington, Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and more, as well as in Asia: Yokohama Festival in Japan, Seoul, and in Europe in Palermo, Rome, Venice, Lisbon, Helsinki, Liepaja, Madrid, Valencia, etc. He is regularly invited in Germany to the prestigious Husum Piano Festival, where he performs the most audacious programs. In Paris, he has been applauded by audiences at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, the Théâtre du Châtelet, the Théâtre de la Ville, the Salle Gaveau and the Opéra Garnier, as well as at numerous international festivals.
He has performed with the national orchestras of Lyon, Bordeaux, Besançon, Toulouse, and the Orchestre d'Auvergne. His concerts are well-thought-out: commited to maintaining a historical awareness of the repertoire, he often leaves the beaten track and gives concerts that are both striking and accessible to all, rigorously applying a consistent ethic to the Liszt repertoire, as well as to impressionist music and post-romantic scores.
Denis Pascal was appointed professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon in January 2010 and at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in April 2011. Moreover, he has contributed to the elaboration of several didactic works in collaboration with the Cité de la Musique in Paris.
Born in Bonn, Germany in 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the most mainstream references of Classicism — a pianist, composer, and an unequivocal genius. Descending from a long line of musicians, Beethoven studied music from an early age, beginning with the piano, clarinet, and the organ. At the ripe age of 11-years-old, Beethoven received his first job as a court organist, replacing his own teacher for a period of time. A veritable young prodigy, Beethoven was publicly compared to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and a few years later, the young musician traveled to Vienna to briefly study under the tutelage of Mozart himself. In his late 20s, Beethoven noticed difficulties with his hearing and by his mid 40s, he was completely deaf and unable to vocally communicate. Despite this misfortune, he remarkably continued to compose music. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 was written after he had entirely lost his hearing. While his early musical career heavily reflected the Viennese Classical tradition inherited by the likes of Mozart and Haydn, Beethoven achieved a unique revolutionary identity by the end of his career. Deceased in 1827, his wake was a public event that gathered around 10,000 people. Despite his passing, Beethoven’s legacy lives on. His works anticipated many of the features that would characterize music in the romantic era and even that of the 20th century.