MOZART: Piano Concertos Nos. 11 and 22 (Concentus Hungaricus/ Ibolya Toth/ Jeno Jando/ Matyas Antal) (Naxos: 8.550206)
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Piano Concerto No.22 in E Flat Major, K. 482
Piano Concerto No.11 in F Major, K. 413
The solo concerto had become, during the eighteenth century, animportant vehicle for composer-performers, a form of music that had developed from thework of Johann Sebastian Bach, through his much admired sons Carl Philipp Emanuel andJohann Christian, to provide a happy synthesis of solo and orchestral performance. Mozartw rote his first numbered piano concertos, arrangements derived from other composers, in1767, undertaking further arrangements from Johann Christian Bach a few years later. Hisfirst attempt at writing a concerto, however, had been at the age of four or five,described by a friend of the family as a smudge of notes, although, his father claimed,very correctly composed. In Salzburg as an adolescent Mozart wrote half a dozen pianoconcertos, the last of these for two pianos after his return from Paris. The remainingseventeen piano concertos were written in Vienna, principally for his own use in thesubscription concerts that he organised there during the last decade of his life.
The second half of the eighteenth century also broughtconsiderable changes in keyboard instruments, as the harpsichord was gradually supersededby the fortepiano or pianoforte, with its hammer action, an instrument capable of dynamicnuances impossible on the older instrument, while the hammer-action clavichord from whichthe piano developed had too little carrying power for public performance. The instrumentsMozart had in Vienna, by the best contemporary makers, had a lighter touch than the modernpiano, with action and leather-padded hammers that made greater delicacy of articulationpossible, among other differences. They seem well suited to Mozart's own style of playing,by comparison with which the later virtuosity of Beethoven seemed to some contemporariesrough and harsh.
Mozart performed his PianoConcerto in E fiat major, K. 482, on 23rd December at the Burgtheater in Viennaas an entr'acte between the parts of Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf's oratorio Esther, directed by the court composer AntonioSalieri in the presence of the Emperor, Archduke Franz and Princess Elisabeth. Theconcerto was the second of two Advent concerts arranged by the Tonk??nstler-Sozietat forits widows and orphans. This was presumably not the first performance, since the concertoseems to have been designed for a series of three subscription concerts Mozart hadorganised, and the preceding concertos at least had not been finished so early, a weekbefore it was needed.
The E fiat Concerto
is scored for clarinets instead of flute and pairs of bassoons, horns, trumpets and drums.
The strings, as in the immediately preceding concertos, have divided violas. The fullorchestra starts the work with a brief and emphatic figure, answered by a gentlydescending sequence played by bassoons and horns, to be echoed by clarinets and violins.
The orchestral exposition is linked to the soloist's version of the principal theme by aseventeen bar solo introduction, after which the piano moves on to bravura scales andarpeggios that accompany and then develop the material, before the sinister much moreplacid second subject. The movement continues with much busy passage-work for the soloistand a subtly varied recapitulation.
Muted strings open the C minor Andante, a movement that had tobe repeated at the concert on 23rd December. The soloist varies the extended principaltheme, briefly accompanied by the strings, followed by an E fiat episode, scored for wind,and allowing due contrast between the upper register of the clarinet and the Alberti bassof its lower register. The soloist returns with a further variation of the principaltheme, leading to a second episode in which flute and bassoon engage in a C majordialogue, after which a further variation of the main theme returns, leading to a coda.
The darker mood of the Andante is dispelled by the final rondo, introduced by the soloist,accompanied by the strings, and varied by the introduction of an A flat Andantino, aminuet, played at first by clarinets and bassoons and echoed by the soloist, after whichthe rondo theme re-appears to lead the music to its conclusion.
Writing to his father in Salzburg on 28th December 1782,Mozart, full of hope and enthusiasm, describes the set of three piano concertos that hewas to announce in January for his proposed subscription concerts, works that were to be ahappy medium between the easy and the difficult, brilliant and pleasing, without beingempty, with elements that would afford satisfaction only to the knowledgeable, but providepleasure to the less perceptive, although they would not know why. He was busy at the sametime as a teacher and performer, while completing a piano arrangement of his German opera Die Entf??hrung aus dem Serail, which had proved verysuccessful when it had been staged at the Burgtheater in July. At the same time he hadstarted work setting an ode on Gibraltar, written by a Jesuit, commissioned by a Hungarianlady, and never completed. On 15th January subscriptions were solicited in the WienerZeitung for the three concertos, with optional wind parts, allowing performance also withthe accompaniment of only a string quartet. Money was slow in coming in, and in AprilMozart was writing to the publisher Sieber in Paris offering the three concertos, which heclaimed could be performed with full orchestra, the French preference, with oboes andhorns, or simply with four-part string accompaniment. The concertos, K. 413 - 415, werepublished in 1785 by Artaria in Vienna.
The Concerto in F major, K.
413, cannot be precisely dated. It appears to have been unwritten on 28thDecember, when Mozart told his father that only one of the three concertos had beenfinished, but was probably completed soon after that letter, and may have been played atconcerts early in January, possibly on 11th January, when Aloysia Lange, Mozart'ssister-in-law, who had won Mozart's attentions in Mannheim, sang an aria he had writtenfor her. Original cadenzas survive for the first two movements. Again scored for anaccompaniment of oboes, horns and strings, the first movement opens with repeated chordsfrom the whole orchestra, followed at once by a principal theme that must have givensatisfaction to all, the soloist entering with another fragment of a theme, beforeproceeding to the first subject, which is then developed. The movement continues with awealth of thematic invention. The B flat Larghetto offers that mixture of joy and sorrowthat Mozart knew so well how to convey and is followed by a rondo, derived from a minuettheme, announced first by the orchestra.
Jeno Jando was born at Pecs, in south Hungary, in 1952. Hestarted to learn the piano when he was seven and later studied at the Ferenc Liszt Academyof Music under Katalin Nemes and pal Kadosa, becoming assistant to the latter on hisgraduation in 1974. Jand6 has won a number of piano competitions in Hungary and abroad,including first prize in the 1973 Hungarian Piano Concours and a first prize in thechamber music category at the Sydney International Piano Competition in 1977. In additionto his many appearances in Hungary, he has played widely abroad in Eastern and WesternEurope, in Canada and in Japan. He is currently engaged in a project to record allMozart's piano concertos for Naxos. Other recordings for the Naxos label include theconcertos of Grieg and Schumann as well as Rachmaninov's Second Concerto and Paganini Rhapsody and Beethoven's complete pianosonatas.
|Piano Concerto No. 22, E flat major, K. 482|
||Allegro - Andantino cantabile - Allegro
|Piano Concerto No. 11, F major, K. 413|
||Tempo di menuetto
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