Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto Number 2 and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto Number 4

I went to the finale of the International Piano Competition in July.  Three musicians played these two pieces.  The first and third competitors played Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto Number 2.

Here it is performed by Yuja Wang.


The second competitor performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto Number 4. Here is performed by Krystian Zimerman (conducted by Leonard Bernstein!).

Listening to these two pieces makes me wish that I knew something about music theory.  I know that Beethoven’s piece sounds nothing like Rachmaninoff’s, but other than saying that one is in major and the other in minor, I cannot say why they sound nothing alike.  I can also tell that Beethoven’s piece has far more in common with Mozart.  But I cannot say why the Beethoven piece reminds me of Mozart.

Is there anyone out there who understands music theory who can explain it to me?


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