Beethoven:Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor” Pianist: Manlio Giordano

The young Beethoven, by Maxine Frost

In honor of Beethoven’s 240th birthday, I have chosen a piece that occupies a special place in my heart.  The “Emperor” concerto was one of the very first pieces of classical music that I came to know and love.  In 1963, when my passion for classical music was just beginning to bloom, my parents happened to own the RCA Victor recording of Van Cliburn playing this concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Fritz Reiner.  One of the few classical albums in the house, this one got played a lot!

The soloist in this video is the Italian-Swedish pianist Manlio Giordano.  This concert marked a proud moment in Manlio’s career: it was his first solo performance with orchestra.  Given that circumstance, he plays with remarkable self-possession and maturity.  Unlike many soloists, he never distracts the audience’s attention from the music.  His tone is never harsh or forced; in fact, he plays this most joyful concerto with an extraordinary – almost Mozartean – delicacy.  Most important, his interpretation owes nothing to other pianists; on the contrary, he plays with astonishing individuality.  Although artists tend to be notoriously self-critical, I would hope that on this occasion at least, Manlio was well-satisfied with his playing.

This performance took place on October 28, 2001 in Luleå, Sweden, where the Luleå Orchestra was conducted by Hans Ek.

Maxine Frost, whose portrait of the young Beethoven I have reproduced above, is one of the many fine announcers at KING FM in Seattle.  You can find more wonderful examples of her artwork at her blog “Crazy for the Composers” at

Published in: on December 16, 2010 at 11:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sergei Rachmaninoff: Two Pieces for Piano Pianist: Manlio Giordano

Manlio Giordano is an Italian-Swedish pianist who began his formal piano instruction at age three, started giving public performances at five, and performed on Swedish national radio at ten.  He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in music from Lund University in Sweden, and has since performed throughout Scandinavia and other countries.

The two pieces that follow were both encores to a beautiful – and notably personal – interpretation of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto, also available on YouTube.  The first piece is Rachmaninoff’s hauntingly beautiful Prelude Op. 32 No. 10.

The next video is an absolutely splendid performance of one of Rachmaninoff’s most exciting piano works, his Etude Op. 39 No. 9.

Note: In a comment to a previous entry on this blog, Mr. Giordano mentions that he has been looking for a long time for a CD of Vladimir Sofronitsky playing the Etudes Op. 8 and Preludes Op. 11 by Scriabin.  Does anyone reading this know what album he is talking about and how one might find a copy of it?  If you do, please reply in a comment to this video.  Many thanks.

Published in: on September 18, 2009 at 8:41 pm  Comments (2)  
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