Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat major Op.73 ('Emperor')
Ludwig van Beethoven


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The highest entry for Beethoven in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. With 17 entries in total, he's the second most popular composer in this chart. This piece has always been in the top 10 of the Hall of Fame, reaching its highest position of number 4 on 8 occasions.

At the time of writing this concerto, Beethoven was very much straddling the divide between the classical and Romantic periods. The work itself seems to be breaking out of conventional boundaries almost as if a new kind of music is being born. The sheer length of the opening movement belies convention; the serene second movement flows directly and unusually into the finale; and the overt romance of the music looks ahead to a musical period that was at that time still in its infancy.

Apparently, the work's nickname derived not from Beethoven but from a comment made by one of Napoleon's officers, who was stationed in Vienna at the time. It was, 'an emperor of a concerto,' the man supposedly exclaimed, and the name has stuck ever since.