Although Beethoven had performed his 4th Piano Concerto privately, in 1807, the public did not hear it until the 22nd of December, 1808. On that night they also heard four hours of new music in a cold concert hall (the heating system had failed to work properly).
Perhaps because of those factors - or maybe because the 4th was so different from Beethoven's first three concertos for solo piano and orchestra - the work was never publicly performed again in Beethoven's lifetime.
Then ... Mendelssohn resurrected it. Richard Freed (for the Kennedy Center) tells us what happened:
The prodigiously active young Felix Mendelssohn, who performed similar rescue service for various other neglected masterworks, rescued the G-major Concerto from its undeserved oblivion and established it in its rightful place when he performed it in Leipzig in 1836. The 26-year-old Robert Schumann, who was present, reported being so transfixed by the work that "I sat in my place without moving a muscle or even breathing."
After he personally played this concerto at the December 1808 concert, Beethoven never publicly performed with an orchestra again.
In this clip, we see Murray Perahia playing the last movement of Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto with Sir Colin Davis conducting the New York Philharmonic.
Clip of Murray Perahia, playing the last movement of Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto with Sir Colin Davis conducting the New York Philharmonic, online courtesy YouTube.
Quoted passage, online courtesy Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
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