Piano Concerto No.1 in C major Op.15
Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven is the second most popular composer in the Ultimate Hall of Fame and this is the second of his 17 entries. It has appeared in every chart apart from in 2010.

Rather confusingly, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.1 is actually the second piano concerto he composed. The first, however, was published after this one, hence the slight numerical anomaly. The two concertos were composed in very quick succession, right at the start of the young Beethoven's career and they display very similar approaches in terms of the harmonious relationship between piano and orchestra.

This concerto certainly seems more polite than, say, the Fourth, or the Emperor. Beethoven hadn't yet decided to champion the idea of the piano and orchestra performing as one, in interweaving dialogue. Instead, there's a respectful distance between the two; they exist very much as separate voices. That's not to say the work is disappointing just that it's absolutely a product of its time.

Mrs. Meigs at the Piano Organ by William Merritt Chase (1883).