5. Chopin/Liszt

So far our exploration of the piano concerto has been entirely dominated by German composer/performers but, as the nineteenth century progressed, brilliant executants started to emerge from other nations. And, while Mozart, Beethoven and Mendelssohn were no slouch when it came to rushing up and down the keyboard, these newcomers often took virtuosity to an extreme. Together with the improvements in the construction of the instrument this often led to concertos which were high on piano pyrotechnics but low on actual music.

Notable exceptions, in terms of the quality of their music, were two of the most famous of these masters of the keyboard – the Polish/French Frédéric Chopin and the Hungarian Ferencz Liszt. They each only wrote two concertos; here is the first by both rendered brilliantly by the – Argentinian – Martha Argerich:

(00:30) I. Allegro maestoso
(20:53) II. Romanze – Larghetto
(30:46) III. Rondo – Vivace

Score (2 piano)

01:35Allegro maestoso
06:59Quasi adagio
11:31Allegretto vivace – Allegro animato
15:36Allegro marziale animato

Score (2 piano)