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Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Nr. 5 (Es-Dur) op. 73

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

Composition
Beginn 1809, Abschluss Februar 1810
dedicated to Rudolph Erzherzog von Österreich

Beethoven's fifth piano concert was composed in 1809 - a tough year as Europe was in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars. In April, Austria had declared war on France. In mid-May of 1809 Vienna was bombarded and occupied by French troops under Napoleon. The Imperial Family, among them Archduke Rudolph, Beethoven's friend, patron and student, fled from Vienna to the Hungarian regions of their empire on May 4th.

Living conditions soon worsened under French occupation. The citizens had to provide the troops with food which aggravated the situation dramatically. In addition, Austria was forced to make reparation payments and pay compulsory loans as well as special taxes. Thus, Beethoven was affected, too. On September 19th, 1809 he wrote in a letter to Leipzig mentioning the plight and distress because twice the usual amount of food and other supplies was needed due to the damn war. On January 2nd, 1810, he mentioned the memories of the first French occupation from 1805 which resulted in the first performance of his opera "Leonore" being a failure. From 1809 on, Beethoven rejected Napoleon and became more focused on his German nationality as it was customary for that time. His fifth piano concert gives clear evidence of this development:

Several drafts for the fifth piano concert are similar to drafts concerning Heinrich Joseph von Collin's national poem "Österreich über alles" (Austria above all). (See draft sheet HCB Mh 79). Collin's poems were quite popular and were often set to music. For his national texts, the poet was wanted by the French. Beethoven never completed the musical version for the Austrian national poem.

A second piece of evidence for Beethoven's patriotism can be found on the lower margin of sheet 47r of the concert's autograph score at the beginning of the second movement where Beethoven wrote: Austria shall retaliate against Napoleon. (From this comment, Hans-Werner Küthen, the concert's editor in the new complete Beethoven edition, deduces that Beethoven wrote the second movement after Vienna's occupation.)

Archduke Rudolph and the Imperial Family returned no earlier than January 30th, 1810, from their Hungarian exile to Vienna. Beethoven had used his gifted student's absence to complete the piano concert. When the Archduke returned, Beethoven was very glad. Apart from the piano sonata "Les Adieux" op. 81a Rudolph also received the fifth piano concert - a dedication which is quite understandable under the circumstances given. (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

First editions
Originalausgabe, op. 73, Klavierstimme, Breitkopf und Härtel, 1613
Originalausgabe, op. 73, Stimmen, Breitkopf und Härtel, 1613
Originalausgabe, op. 73, Stimmen, Breitkopf und Härtel, 1613; Teilscan
Erstausgabe, op. 73, Partitur, Breitkopf und Härtel, 9250
Erstausgabe, op. 73, Partitur, Richault, 7812

Scores (bibliographic data)

Written documents
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 4. Februar 1810
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Baden, 21. August 1810
Brief an Breitkopf und Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, vor dem 3. Mai 1811
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 6. Mai 1811, mit beigefügtem Fehlerverzeichnis
Brief an Carl Czerny, Wien, 21. Mai 1824
Brief an Breitkopf und Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 2. Juli 1810

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?
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
Rudolph (1788-1831), Erzherzog von Österreich, seit 1819 Kardinal und Erzbischof von Olmütz - Anonyme Lithographie des 19. Jahrhunderts, Mitte 19. Jahrhundert?
Rudolph (1788-1831), Erzherzog von Österreich, seit 1819 Kardinal und Erzbischof von Olmütz - Fotografie eines Stichs von Blasius Höfel, Um 1920?
Beethovens Klavierkonzert Nr. 5 (Es-dur, op. 73) - Fotografie eines Gemäldes von Radu Dragomir, um 1971

Literature (bibliographic data)

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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