Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58, part 1
Professor Michel Dalberto gives a historical overview that provides insight on how to play Beethoven’s fourth piano concerto, including the emotional state Beethoven was in, how others have performed the piece, as well as the Italian influence in the music. Dalberto works with student Virgile Roche to find the right sound quality and timing in the difficult opening, in which the piano begins the piece alone. He discusses how to play the grace notes and trills in the way that best reflects the style of the piece, and offers suggestions for pedal use and efficient fingerings. As someone with experience playing the piece with orchestra, Dalberto also shares the musical decisions, especially in regard to dynamics and phrasing, that he has found to work best with the accompaniment.
How to produce the most musically effective opening.
Capturing the Italian qualities of the music.
Play the grace notes and trills stylistically.
When to use the pedal.
Making musical choices with the orchestral part in mind.
Beethoven premiered his fourth concerto himself in 1807, during the same concert he conducted the premieres of the fifth and sixth symphonies. Unfortunately, overshadowed by some of the composer’s other works, the concerto was not programmed after the premiere until Mendelssohn revived it in 1836. Now, however, it is an audience favorite. The concerto makes use of some developments in piano making at the time, such as the addition of three keys and a new pedal system. The first movement, Allegro moderato, opens with the solo piano, forgoing the traditional orchestral introduction. The music is full of grace and lyricism, rather than the dramatic dynamic and mood changes expected from Beethoven’s writing. For the cadenza, the soloist has several options to choose from, by Beethoven himself as well as other famous composers. The second movement, Andante con moto, is the standout movement of the concerto. The lyrical piano melody trades off with the more sombre orchestral accompaniment, and has often been associated with the image of Orpheus taming the Furies in the Underworld, though there is no evidence a specific program was intended. The piece concludes with Rondo (Vivace), a straightforward but spirited ending characterized by rhythmic virtuosity.
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 Michel Dalberto's feedback and comments.
At the age of 20, he won the 1st Mozart Competition in Salzburg and received the Clara Haskil Prize.
Born in Paris in 1955 into a family with origins in the Dauphiné and the Italian Piedmont, Michel Dalberto began playing the piano at the age of three. He played in public for the first time at the age of five and a half, and at the early age of thirteen joined Vlado Perlemuter's class at the Paris Conservatoire.
At the age of twenty, he won the 1st Mozart Competition in Salzburg and was unanimously awarded the Clara Haskil Prize. In 1978, he was awarded the 1st Prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition. Other accolades include the Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles-Cros, the Prix de l'Académie du Disque Français, the Diapason d’Or, and the Echo Prize in Germany.
He has been invited to play in many European music concert halls and venues with some of the most prestigious conductors. Since the beginning of his career, Michel Dalberto has been recognized as one of the leading interpreters of Schubert and Mozart. Moreover, he is the only living pianist to have performed and recorded the complete piano works of Schubert. Recent recordings include the complete chamber music of Fauré with Renaud Capuçon and the Quatuor Ebène (winner of the German Echo Prize), the Schubert cycles 'Winter Journey' and 'Swan Song' with baritone Stephan Genz.
Additionally, Michel Dalberto is a celebrated chamber musician who has played with the world’s greatest instrumentalists. Parallel to his career as a musician, Dalberto has conducted orchestras in Asia and Europe.
He was appointed Professor at the Paris Conservatoire in September 2011 and has a regular relationship with the Tianjin Conservatory. He has previously been invited to give masterclasses at the Accademia Pianistica in Imola, the Hochschule in Hannover, the Royal College in Manchester, and more.
In 1996, the Minister of Culture made him a Chevalier in the National Order of Merit in recognition of his artistic activity.
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.