Compare and Contrast: The elegance, playfulness, light hearted spirit of Piano Concerto No, 2 in Bb Major ( actually the first concerto written by Beethoven) mostly conforms to expectations of a Classical era concerto. The orchestra enters first while the piano demurely waits patiently to respond. The soloist enters sweetly, a little flirtatiously and then a game of courtship ensues. Compare and contrast that with the stormy virtuosity of Piano Concerto No. 3 in c minor, written at the onset of Beethoven's deafness when he vowed to set off in a new musical direction. Notice how the "individual" is no longer cooperative and compliant, but asserting their will in a struggle to the death at the end of the first movement of Concerto No 3. They roar into the picture with thunderous scales marked forte and pounding the theme in octaves that was heard in tip-toe fashion by the orchestra. Concerto No. 5 in Eb Major (the so called "Emperor") violates all norms and conventions. Here, the soloist interrupts the orchestra after just one chord to offer not a theme, but a cadenza: a wildly virtuosic passage that showcases their will.
Listen to Sir John Eliot Gardiner's rendition of Beethoven's 5th Symphony to hear a hair raising and thrilling interpretation that is as close to what Beethoven envisioned as I can imagine. The Orchestra Revolutionaire and Romantique uses historically informed interpretations, meticulously researched and performed on original instruments. But for a sheer jolt of joy, you must watch 3 year old JOnathan, whose tender age does not diminish his understanding of what is the essence of this piece: the triumph of courage and joy over darkness.