MOZART: Piano Concertos Nos. 6, 8 and 19

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WolfgangAmadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)

PianoConcerto in F Major, K. 459

Piano Concerto in B Flat Major, K. 238

Piano Concerto in C Major, K. 246 (L??tzow Concerto)

The soloconcerto had become, during the eighteenth century, an important vehicle forcomposer-performers, a form of music that had developed from the work of JohannSebastian Bach, through his much admired sons Carl Philipp Emanuel and JohannChristian, to provide a happy synthesis of solo and orchestral performance.

Mozart wrote his first numbered piano concertos, arrangements derived fromother composers, in 1767, undertaking further arrangements from JohannChristian Bach a few years later. His first attempt at writing a concerto,however, had been at the age of four or five, described by a friend of thefamily as a smudge of notes, although, his father claimed, very correctlycomposed. In Salzburg as an adolescent Mozart wrote half a dozen pianoconcertos, the last of these for two pianos after his return from Paris in1779. The remaining seventeen piano concertos were written in Vienna,principally for his own use in the subscription concerts that he organisedthere during the last decade of his life.

The second halfof the eighteenth century also brought considerable changes in keyboardinstruments, as the harpsichord was gradually superseded by the fortepiano orpianoforte, with its hammer action, an instrument capable of dynamic nuancesimpossible on the older instrument, while the hammer-action clavichord fromwhich the piano developed had too little carrying power for public performance.

The instruments Mozart had in Vienna, by the best contemporary makers, had alighter touch than the modern piano, with action and leather-padded hammersthat made greater delicacy of articulation possible, among other differences.

They seem well suited to Mozart's own style of playing, by comparison withwhich the later virtuosity of Beethoven seemed to some contemporaries rough andharsh.

The PianoConcerto in F major, K. 459, was completed on 11th December, 1784 and seemsto have been designed for the composer's own use. In his own catalogue Mozartdescribes the work as scored also for trumpets and drums, in addition to flute,pairs of oboes, bassoons and horns, and strings, but trumpet and drum parts arelost, if they ever existed, for a work in a key that is not, for Mozart, atrumpet key. Mozart played the concerto at the concert he organised inFrankfurt for the coronation there of the new Emperor Leopold II on 15thOctober, 1790. This and the Concerto in D major, K. 537, played on thesame occasion, have both been given the title Coronation Concerto,although English-speakers have preferred to bestow the title only on the laterwork.

The firstmovement of the concerto opens with a familiar rhythm, announced first by fluteand strings, joined in immediate repetition by the other wind instruments. Thesame theme introduces the soloist, who then accompanies its repetition by oboeand bassoon. Through the central development of the material the characteristicdotted rhythm of the opening reappears in a movement that allows the soloistdramatic triplet passage work as a salient feature. The C major second movementis marked Allegretto, instead of the usual Andante, its principal theme,announced at length by the orchestra, capped by a shorter passage, at first inG minor, and after the repetition of the principal theme, in C minor. Thesoloist introduces the final movement, a modification of the customary rondoform, in which a contrapuntal element appears in contrast to much of thesurrounding material, forming one of the most impressive of Mozart's concertomovements, foreshadowing something of what was to come.

The Concertoin B flat major, K. 238, was written in Salzburg in January 1776. InDecember 1774 Mozart had travelled to Munich with his father to prepareperformances of a newly commissioned opera, La finta giardiniera, forthe carnival season. The following March they returned to Salzburg. Somethingof Mozart's discontent in Salzburg is revealed in a letter written in September1775 to the great Italian composer, theorist and teacher Padre Martini, inwhich he laments the lack of singers for the theatre, the restrictions imposedon church music by the reformist Archbishop and w hat he describes as thestruggling existence of music.

In 1775 Mozarthad written the two violin Concertone and a group of five violin concertos forSalzburg. The B flat Piano Concerto, which followed, shows traces ofthese concertos, not least in its increasing richness of invention. It wasintended presumably for his own use or for that of his sister and formed partof his repertoire when he left Salzburg in September 1777 on his journey toParis, when he is known to have played it in Munich, Augsburg and Mannheim. Theconcerto is scored for a pair of oboes, replaced by flutes in the slowmovement, and a pair of horns, with the usual strings. The first movement,marked Allegro aperto, an instruction found in the A major ViolinConcerto of December 1775, opens with the customary orchestral exposition,introducing the two themes that are later to be repeated and developed by thesoloist, for whom Mozart's written cadenza is preserved. The slow movement, inE flat, otters a principal theme characteristic of the composer in its morepoignant connotations, here only implied in passing. The concerto ends with acheerful rondo introducing an episode that suggests more popular music, acounterpart of the Turkish intrusion into the finale of the A major ViolinConcerto.

Mozart wrotehis Concerto in C major, K. 246 in April 1776 for Countess Antonia vonL??tzow, a niece of the Archbishop of Salzburg and wife of the commandant of thecastle of Hohensalzburg, a woman he later described as high and mighty. TheCountess was probably a pupil of Leopold Mozart. Mozart made use of theconcerto during his journey to Mannheim and Paris in 1777 and 1778 and playedit himself in Munich in October 1777, including in his concert there two otherconcertos, K. 238 and K. 271. It seems he performed the sameconcertos as a group in Paris. Nevertheless the C major concerto served wellenough as material for pupils and in Mannheim it was performed twice by TheresePierron Serrarius, daughter of the Mannheim Privy Court Councillor, in whosehouse he was lodging. Mozart was well enough pleased with his pupil, "unsereHaus-Nymphe", but less happy with an attempt by the Abbe Vogler tosight-read the work, the first movement prestissimo, the second allegro and therondeau prestississimo, with arbitrary changes in harmony and melody. Theorchestra opens the concerto, which is scored for the usual oboes, horns andstrings, with the customary declaration of the first theme, later taken up bythe soloist, who adds a further theme before proceeding to the second subject.

The F major Andante provides an opportunity for subtle interplay betweensoloist and orchestra, and the former leads the way into a final rondo, inwhich the principal theme has all the simple elegance of a minuet. Three setsof cadenzas survive for the first two movements, the first two, at least,designed for the use of earlier pupils, and the third no doubt for use inVienna in 1782.

Jendo Jando

The Hungarian pianist Jendo Jando has won a number of piano competitions inHungary and abroad, including first prize in the 1973 Hungarian Piano Conooursand a first prize in the chamber music category at the Sydney InternationalPiano Competition in 1977. He has record
Item number 8550208
Barcode 0730099520829
Release date 12/01/1999
Category Classical
Label Naxos Classics
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Artists Jando, Jeno
Jando, Jeno
Composers Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
Conductors Antal, Matyas
Antal, Matyas
Orchestras Hungaricus, Concentus
Hungaricus, Concentus
Producers Toth, Ibolya
Toth, Ibolya
Disc: 1
Piano Concerto No. 8, C major, K. 246
1 Allegro
2 Allegretto
3 Allegro assai
4 Allegro aperto
5 Andante un poco adagio
6 Rondeau: Allegro
7 Allegro aperto
8 Andante
9 Rondeau: Tempo di Menuetto
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