Ludwig van Beethoven‘s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58, was composed in 1805–1806, although no autograph copy survives. It is scored for solo piano and an orchestra consisting of a flute, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, and strings. Like many classical concertos, it has three movements:
- Allegro moderato
- Andante con moto (in E minor)
- Rondo (Vivace)
Premiere and reception
It was premiered in March 1807 at a private concert of the home of Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz. The Coriolan Overture and the Fourth Symphony were premiered in that same concert. However, the public premiere was not until 22 December 1808 in Vienna at the Theater an der Wien. Beethoven again took the stage as soloist. This was part of a marathon concert which saw Beethoven’s last appearance as a soloist with orchestra, as well as the premieres of the Choral Fantasy and the Fifth and Sixth symphonies. Beethoven dedicated the concerto to his friend, student, and patron, the Archduke Rudolph.
A review in the May 1809 edition of the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung states that “[this concerto] is the most admirable, singular, artistic and complex Beethoven concerto ever”. However, after its first performance, the piece was neglected until 1836, when it was revived by Felix Mendelssohn. Today, the work is widely performed and recorded, and is considered to be one of the central works of the piano concerto literature.