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Concerto no. 5 for piano and orchestra (E-flat ma.) op. 73

Listening samples
1. Allegro (365 kB)
2. Adagio un poco moto (365 kB)
3. Rondo. Allegro (365 kB)

Composition
Begun 1908, finished February 1810
Dedicated to Rudolph Erzherzog von Österreich

Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto was composed in 1809 – a difficult year as Europe was in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars. Austria declared war on France in April, and by mid-May Vienna had been bombarded and occupied by French troops under Napoleon. The imperial family, among them Beethoven's friend, patron and student Archduke Rudolph, fled to the Hungarian regions of their empire on 4 May.

Living conditions soon worsened under French occupation. The citizens had to provision the troops, which aggravated the situation dramatically. In addition, Austria was forced to make reparation payments and to pay compulsory loans and special taxes. Beethoven was affected, too. On 19 September 1809 he wrote a letter to Leipzig mentioning the plight and distress because twice the usual amount of food and other supplies was needed due to the war. On 2 January 1810 he recalled the first French occupation of 1805, which caused the failure of his opera Leonore at its première. From 1809 Beethoven rejected Napoleon and focused on his German nationality, as was customary at the time. His Fifth Piano Concerto provides clear evidence of this development:

Several drafts for the Fifth Concerto resemble those for Heinrich Joseph von Collin's patriotic poem Österreich über alles (Austria above all) (see sketch leaf HCB Mh 79). Collin's poems were quite popular and often set to music. For his patriotic texts, the poet was wanted by the French. Beethoven never completed the music for the Austrian national anthem.

Another item of evidence for Beethoven's patriotism is found on the bottom margin of sheet 47r of the concerto's autograph score, where he wrote ‘Austria shall retaliate against Napoleon’ at the opening of the second movement. (This comment led Hans-Werner Küthen, the editor of the concerto for the New Beethoven Edition, to conclude that he wrote the second movement after Vienna's occupation.)

Archduke Rudolph and the imperial family returned from their Hungarian exile to Vienna no earlier than 30 January 1810. Beethoven had used his gifted student's absence to complete the concerto. Beethoven was delighted at the archduke’s return: besides the Piano Sonata op. 81a (‘Les Adieux’), Rudolph also received the dedication of the Fifth Piano Concerto – understandably under the given circumstances. (J.R.)

Music manuscripts
Skizzen, HCB Mh 77
Skizzen, HCB Mh 78
Skizzen, HCB Mh 79
Skizzen, NE 39
Überprüfte Abschrift, op. 73, Klavierstimme des 1. Satzes, Klavierstimme, NE 157

First editions
Originalausgabe, op. 73, Klavierstimme, Breitkopf und Härtel, 1613, HCB C op. 73
Originalausgabe, op. 73, Stimmen, Breitkopf und Härtel, 1613, C 73 / 9
Originalausgabe, op. 73, Stimmen, Breitkopf und Härtel, 1613; Teilscan, C 73 / 23
Erstausgabe, op. 73, Partitur, Breitkopf und Härtel, 9250, C 73 / 12
Erstausgabe, op. 73, Partitur, Richault, 7812, C 73 / 15

Scores
Bibliographic data in library catalogue

Written documents
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 4. Februar 1810, HCB Br 85
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Baden, 21. August 1810, HCB Br 88
Brief an Breitkopf und Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, vor dem 3. Mai 1811, BH 8
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 6. Mai 1811, mit beigefügtem Fehlerverzeichnis, HCB BBr 9 - HCB Br 94
Brief an Carl Czerny, Wien, 21. Mai 1824, HCB BBr 12
Brief an Breitkopf und Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 2. Juli 1810, HCB Br 322

Pictures
Rudolph (1788-1831), Erzherzog von Österreich, seit 1819 Kardinal und Erzbischof von Olmütz - Anonymes Ölgemälde, vielleicht von Johann Baptist von Lampi, 1. Hälfte 19. Jahrhundert?, B 2644
Rudolph (1788-1831), Erzherzog von Österreich, seit 1819 Kardinal und Erzbischof von Olmütz - Stich von Blasius Höfel nach einer Zeichnung von Adalbert Suchy, um 1820, B 186
Rudolph (1788-1831), Erzherzog von Österreich, seit 1819 Kardinal und Erzbischof von Olmütz - Portrait in Aquarell und Gouache von Friedrich Johann Gottlieb Lieder, Wien, um 1823, um 1823, B 2997
Rudolph (1788-1831), Erzherzog von Österreich, seit 1819 Kardinal und Erzbischof von Olmütz - Anonyme Lithographie des 19. Jahrhunderts, Mitte 19. Jahrhundert?, B 499
Rudolph (1788-1831), Erzherzog von Österreich, seit 1819 Kardinal und Erzbischof von Olmütz - Fotografie eines Stichs von Blasius Höfel, Um 1920?, NE 81, Band III, Nr. 488
Beethovens Klavierkonzert Nr. 5 (Es-dur, op. 73) - Fotografie eines Gemäldes von Radu Dragomir, um 1971, Ni 42 DRAG / 1970 Drag

Literature
Bibliographic data in library catalogue

Manuscript sources in other libraries
Berlin: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Musikabteilung mit Mendelssohn-Archiv
Frankreich, Paris: Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Musique, MS-72
Frankreich, Paris: Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Musique, MS-73
Großbritannien, London: The British Library
USA, New York: The Juilliard School, Lila Acheson Wallace Library and Archives
USA, New York: The Morgan Library
USA, New York: The Morgan Library

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E-Mail: bibliothek@beethoven-haus-bonn.de