Album Name: Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor”
Band: Ludwig van Beethoven
Release Date: 1811
Genre: Classical / Romantic
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It’s strange, I’m usually half living at the mall by this time of year. Normally I’d be crammed into the corner of a Spenser’s Gifts staring woefully at glow-in-the-dark Yellow Submarine shot glasses wondering if it’s something my brother needs. Usually, I’d be getting tunnel vision as 12 Days of Christmas plays overhead for the 2nd time and squeezes out my will to even celebrate the damn holiday anymore. One blessed gift from this era is that shopping is illegal, and nobody can force “FIIIVE GOLDEN RIINGS” on me. Maybe this year we can finally enjoy a holiday season that isn’t completely centred around commercialism.
That’s why this week’s recommendation is another celebration of holiday music, even if it isn’t technically holiday music. And in the spirit of anti-commercialism, I guarantee no one will make any money if you listen to this piece because it’s 209 years old. Maybe you’ve heard of the artist before, a German dude named Ludwig van Beethoven. Apparently he was a big deal? Big enough to have a cameo in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure anyway.
The piece is Piano Concerto No. 5, known as “Emperor” and it is 40 minutes of big bouncy beauty. It comes in three movements, I. Allegro – which seems to have been written with the intention of blowing the powdered wigs off everyone in Vienna. Then there’s II. Adagio Un Poco Moso – my favourite. Movement 2 pushes and pulls you, gently rocking you over a cliff as you peer over the edge at swirling snow. A haunting and hopeful lullaby. Then without pause, it transitions into III. Rondo: Allegro – which invites you to revel in unfettered victory for the remainder of the concerto.
If you give this classical piece your time, you’ll be rewarded with a storied journey that will set your imagination running wild. Concerto No. 5 reminds me of old-time Christmas tropes like Tiny Tims, yule logs and nutcrackers. It’s triumphant and celebratory, which is what I’d like to fill my home with nowadays. Because though we may have to ditch some traditions this year, we don’t have to ditch a moment of celebration, big or small.