Perhaps Western civilization’s first “modern” composer, Beethoven (1770-1827) transformed music, pushing it beyond its classical conventions and using it to convey and explore the deep philosophical questions of his (and, still, ours) day.
One can witness the metamorphosis through the 17 string quartets he wrote between 1799 and 1826, his 35 piano sonatas (1790-1822) or his five completed piano concertos, the first of which he started in 1788 and the last he finished in 1811.
“They’re a very important part of Beethoven’s development,” pianist Garrick Ohlsson said last week from his home in San Francisco.
Over the course of two nights this week Ohlsson will perform all five of them with the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra, with Sir Donald Runnicles conducting.
…Recognizing the specialness of this occasion, and as a late 250th birthday present to Beethoven and a late 60th birthday present to the Music Festival, Friday and Saturday night’s concerts will be recorded and released as the nonprofit’s first commercial release, probably in 2023.
“I’ve recorded lots of piano concertos and solos,” Ohlsson said. “And every pianist has recorded Beethoven’s piano concertos…but the orchestra at the Teton festival is first class, world superlative, so it’s a special occasion. It should be a pretty hot experience.”