Piotr Anderszewski, piano
Ivor Bolton, conductor
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827):
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 C major, op. 15 (1801)
César Franck (1822–1890):
Symphony D minor, FWV 48 (1888)
Beethoven began composing his 1st Piano Concerto shortly after moving from Bonn to Vienna in order to present his own virtuoso piano playing at his new place of work. Shortly before the premiere, Beethoven reported to his friend Franz Wegeler that he composed the finale "only in the afternoon two days before the performance [...] Four copyists sat in the hall and worked on the manuscript sheets, which I handed to them one after the other."
It was only at an advanced age that César Franck composed his first and only symphony, which ingeniously combines French charm with absolute music à la Beethoven. Audiences and critics reacted with irritation at the premiere. It was discussed whether the composer belonged more to the camp of Wagner's programme music or to that of Brahms and the followers of absolute music. Franck, whose 200th birthday is being celebrated this season, did not live to see his work triumph in the concert halls: One year after its premiere in 1889, he died in Paris as the result of a traffic accident.