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Beethoven composing at a piano

Ludwig van Beethoven composing at a piano. Painting by Hermann Junker. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis


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Ludwig van Beethoven

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Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73 Emperor

Written between 1809 and 1811, the fifth piano concerto is one of many pieces that Beethoven dedicated to his patron & student Archduke Rudolf. Due to Beethoven's hearing loss, this is the only piano concerto that Beethoven did not premiere with himself at the keyboard. His hearing loss did not in any way hinder his creativity in writing the piece. The 5th concerto is full of the heroic grandeur often associated with Beethoven in which he "blends brilliance with quiet, and throughout he tempers the virtuosic writing with the instruction dolce, literally “sweet.”  Like many nicknames of Beethoven's pieces, Emperor" was not given by Beethoven, but by the English publisher of the work who was picking up on the heroic nature of the concerto.

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