"...A more self-contained, energetic, sincere artist I never saw." (Goethe)
Standing with one finger touching the keys was often all that was required to induce
Beethoven to play.
It was as a pianist rather than composer that Beethoven first impressed Vienna.
It was particularly his powers of improvisation that amazed musicians and the public
alike. He was regarded as having few rivals, and those who challenged him generally
came off worse in popular ‘piano contests’, such as Daniel Stiebelt who left humiliated
before Beethoven had finished playing!