Ludwig van Beethoven
8. Out of the first 19 opus numbers, 14 include the piano. Why this dominance of piano writing in the early period?
9. Conventional wisdom tells us that Beethoven dominated three genres of music in the 19th century. What were they?
The piano was Beethoven's most secure entry into Viennese musical life, and since he was a virtuoso pianist on a colossal scale, he gained his entry into the Viennese musical scene through works that were for piano or that included piano (i.e. concertos and chamber music). Beethoven also utilized the piano first and foremost in terms of his experimentation with new and progressive ideas and concepts.
Here is one of my favorite works of Beethoven played by the incomparable Glenn Gould. Try to even imagine what it would have been like to hear Beethoven perform his Eroica Variations for piano when he was at the height of his powers! This is a 25 minute work (I offer here only 3 minutes of it...)