When Beethoven’s hero Napoleon proved a disappointment, the composer scratched out the dedication of his Third Symphony and wrote a new one: ‘Sinfonia eroica, composed to celebrate the memory of a great man’. And in that step the symphony became something bigger and more universal. Ultimately, music is the hero in this magnificent work.
Where the Eroica is mighty and rousing, the Fourth Piano Concerto is music to ‘soothe the savage breast’, and it’s the soloist who sets the tone with a gentle, lyrical introduction. A rising star on the international piano scene, Australian Jayson Gillham took out the first prize in the 2014 Montreal International Music Competition playing this very same concerto with ‘streamlined patrician elegance’.