In Great Pianists I'll highlight inspiring and challenging interviews with pianists from the past and present.
This one doesn't let me embed, but can be found at: https://youtu.be/VGRXCXSl9ao
There is a lot of irony behind the nickname of Beethoven's 5th and last piano concerto. Beethoven himself did not name it that. The name was added in early performances and stuck. Beethoven was only a few years before a great fan of the First Consul of France, Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1802, while deeply depressed realizing he was going deaf, he sketched ideas that would lead to a new symphony inspired by Napoleon and to eventually be named in honor of him. Beethoven held him in highest esteem until May 18, 1804 when Napoleon declared himself Emperor of France. Beethoven was furious about this and scribbled out Napoleon's name on the symphony's score and renamed it Symphonia Eroica (Heroic Symphony) as a tribute to the revolution and held Napoleon in contempt from that point. With that in mind, it is ironic that only a few years later when Beethoven writes yet another piece--his final piano concerto--it would be titled by fans as "The Emperor Concerto." In this concerto, Beethoven writes beyond his era. He ushers us into the Romantic era, writing music that cried out for a concert instrument that wouldn't be seen until a decade later. He breaks with Baroque and Classical era traditions such as the improvised cadenza and asks the pianist to play the music exactly as written. Barenboim communicates this wonderful concerto in a triumphant way from the start. Then, he brings us into the beauty of the hymn-like adagio movement, and back to triumph with the rondo.