Pictured: Lang Lang in St. Petersburg
SAMA990, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Unlike other piano concertos, the piano soloist takes the lead in the opening ritornello. It is more common that the orchestra takes the lead. The pianist opens the work with a gentle and touching opening solo, which grabs the attention of listeners. In video recordings, specifically the performance commonly viewed with our own Cleveland Orchestra featuring Lang Lang on the piano, the room is captivated. Lang Lang portrays Beethoven's ideas incredibly; his solo was moving and touching. This is a common concept during the late classical/early romantic musical era. Lang Lang presents this not only through the way he plays but through the emotion he presents with his facial expressions. This is one of the many astonishing ideas that Beethoven presents in this concerto. The piano presents the theme for the remainder of the concerto. The instruments Beethoven used to accompany the piano soloist consist of one flute, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, and strings.