Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major movt. 3 (2 Piano Score) - K.488

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However, Mozart was, by most accounts of the time, a truly superior pianist with an active solo career, and thus in need of new works for his concerts. He wrote his first piano concerto at the age of 11, and his last less than a year before his death. As Mozart and his concerti matured, so music history reached a new stage of development. Of the following listing, only multi-movement works for piano and orchestra are included. Mozart also composed a number of single movement works for that scoring, though due to their brevity , these are not usually counted as full concerti.

By the time that Mozart was in his mids, he had developed the commendable habit of writing specific completion dates on his manuscripts, allowing for even more accurate dating of these works. You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

Mozart Piano Concertos. Article Media. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Written By: Betsy Schwarm. In the orchestration, one notes the absence of oboes and the presence of clarinets, resulting in a special, darker-hued sound. As in most mature concertos, the dialog of the piano and the orchestra cannot be reduced to a simple alternation of "tutti" and "solo" sections; the soloist engages in a constant exchange of ideas with smaller or larger groups from the ensemble — an exchange that becomes particularly animated in the central portion of the movement where the strings begin a new theme that is immediately embellished by the piano and elaborated on in many variations by the orchestra.

For this movement, we have an original cadenza by Mozart. This cadenza tells us a great deal about Mozart the improviser: besides virtuosic passages, it also contains expressive, singing music, and expands on the concerto's thematic material in simple yet ingenious ways.

Piano sheet music Piano Concerto No. 23 (Adagio) (W.A. Mozart) | Noviscore sheets

The emotional high point in Mozart's mature piano concertos is often the second movement. The Adagio of K. Its dominating sentiment in many ways presages musical Romanticism. The melody moves in the quiet rhythm of a siciliano, but contains many expressive wide leaps, emphasizing chromatic half-steps and the melancholy-sounding "Neapolitan sixth" chord. The key of F-sharp minor is extremely rare in Mozart's output:in fact, this is the only time he ever used it as the main tonality of an entire movement.

This unusual choice contributes to the very special poignancy of the music that is much easier to feel than to describe. The last movement, marked "Allegro assai," is a playful romp with a multitude of spirited melodies. It is an extended "sonata-rondo," which means that a recurrent first theme alternates with a number of episodes rondo , but also that one of those episodes also returns, as a second theme would do in a sonata recapitulation. The fusion of these two forms, popular in the late 18th century, results in a structure that allows us to enjoy the wonderful melodies over and over again, while the alternations and transformations of those melodies afford a seemingly inexhaustible diversity.

Mozart was well aware of the exceptional richness of this concerto. In an accompanying letter to Sebastian Winter, a former servant of the Mozart family who now worked for the Prince, the composer wrote that these were "compositions which I keep for myself or for a small circle of music-lovers and connoisseurs who promise not to let them out of their hands.

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Mozart received a total of But the additional commissions Mozart was hoping for came to nothing. The John F. Box Office Hours: Mon. Search: close. Search Search Gift Shop cart Cart. Log In Log In. Live Streaming. Preview Our Events. Mo Willems: Artist-in-Residence. Career Development.

VSA and Accessibility. It is the former derivation that sometimes seems most relevant, in view of the pattern later adopted by the solo concerto, of which the piano concerto is a subspecies. By the later eighteenth century, when the pianoforte was undergoing considerable technical development, the concerto, in English usage, had come to mean an orchestral work with a prominent part for a soloist or soloists.

In the later seventeenth century and the first half, at least, of the eighteenth, the principal concerto form had been that of the concerto grosso , in which a small group of players, the so-called concertino is contrasted with the whole body of the orchestra, the ripieno. This form reached a high level of popularity through the work of the Italian composer Corelli, and his imitators, including Handel.

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Handel himself also wrote solo concertos, many of which have a prominent solo part for the organ, and his contemporary Johann Sebastian Bach wrote solo concertos for one or more harpsichords, often derived from earlier works for different solo instruments. In Venice Vivaldi did much to develop the solo concerto, particularly for his own instrument, the violin. Keyboard concertos underwent further change, notably through the sons of Bach, all distinguished as keyboard-players as well as composers.

The solo keyboard concerto reached a height of its own with Mozart, whose 23 piano concertos remain at the heart of concerto repertoire. The pattern of these movements has much in common with the symphony of the period, while retaining elements of an earlier form, exemplified in the many solo concertos of Vivaldi in the first decades of the eighteenth century.

This last involved the use of a ritornello , a recurrent section of the music that serves as a framework for a series of contrasting episodes.

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The general form of the first movement of a Mozart piano concerto opens with an orchestral ritornello , in which the soloist should also play the orchestral bass part. This section presents the main theme and a subsidiary theme, both in the main key of the work. The second section introduces the soloist in contrast or interplay with the orchestra, changing key in its course, and leading to an orchestral passage, recalling thematic material. The third section generally develops further the themes already heard, perhaps introducing new material.

The fourth section is a recapitulation, bringing back the first and subsidiary themes and including, before a final orchestral passage, a cadenza , a passage for the piano, usually improvised by the soloist. The second, slow movement takes various forms, and the final rondo has the general form of a series of episodes, framed by the recurrent ritornello , with which the movement will have started.

Like Mozart, Beethoven, who also had other instrumental skills, was principally a pianist, playing instruments in Vienna that had changed considerably over the years and were to continue to do so, increasing in range and in sonority. At first, on his arrival in Vienna in , he had established a reputation for himself as a pianist, winning particular praise for the singing tone he was able to produce from what is, in fact, a percussion instrument. His five piano concertos generally follow the form adopted by Mozart for his piano concertos, with some expansion of the forms and innovations that include in the fourth and fifth piano concertos, the earlier appearance of the soloist, who introduces, however briefly, both first movements.

As with the symphony, Beethoven expanded the traditional classical form of the genre. Robert Schumann had at first intended to embark on a career as a pianist. It was for her that Schumann wrote his only solo piano concerto, its first movement started by the soloist, and the outer movements in the tripartite form of exposition, development and recapitulation, familiar from other instrumental works. Between the soloist and the orchestra there is an element of competition that was to assume greater significance and in the slow movement a dialogue with a solo cello. Johannes Brahms, a native of Hamburg who, like Beethoven, made his home in Vienna created something still more massively imposing in his two piano concertos.

As with his four symphonies, the two piano concertos of Brahms came after lengthy periods of gestation, and, like his symphonies, were soon seen as a continuation and development of the work of Beethoven, as Schumann had prophesied. Brahms himself was a pianist and was able to appear as a soloist in his own demanding works, performing with great mastery if not always with great accuracy. The two piano concertos are massive in conception, symphonic in their working. The solo parts are demanding, but lack the purely technical virtuosity that had become a feature of the romantic concerto.

Regarded by many as the leading pianist of his time, Franz Liszt had established a wide reputation for himself in recitals throughout Europe, securing the kind of adulation that the demon violinist Paganini had inspired in his performances.


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By he had abandoned the career of a peripatetic virtuoso and settled in Weimar. Whether he liked it or not, he now found himself pitted against Brahms, 22 years his junior and a champion of musical tradition, while Liszt explored the Music of the Future, an extension of music into new territories. His so-called symphonic poems, translations of extramusical subjects into instrumental form, were an innovation for which the followers of Brahms had no time.

His earlier career seemed to mark him out as a pianist-composer, but in France he found a more congenial place for himself as a composer, a teacher, and a performer in the elegant salons of the French capital. His first ambitions had led him to provide for his own use two piano concertos, both in the current romantic style and both highly characteristic of the composer in their piano-writing.

Chopin may have lacked the competitive virtuosity and ostentation of Liszt, but his poetic and harmonically adventurous use of the piano was to have a marked effect of the future of music, qualities evident in his two piano concertos. Russian music had taken on a new character in the course of the nineteenth century.

Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488 (Mitsuko Uchida)

A group of nationalist composers, led by Balakirev, had set out on a new path, in opposition to the more technically professional music taught in the conservatories, newly established in Russia by the Rubinstein brothers, both formidable pianists, in St Petersburg and in Moscow. It was in the first of these establishments that Tchaikovsky had his musical training and in the second that he found employment for a number of years. He completed two piano concertos and one movement of a third, with the Piano Concerto No 1 in B flat minor the most widely known.

The nineteenth century had seen growing nationalism throughout Europe. In Scandinavia one of the pioneers in music that reflected national elements was Edvard Grieg, a Norwegian, although of earlier paternal Scottish ancestry. His single piano concerto, in which he was able to appear over the years as a soloist, was written in and makes full use of elements drawn from Norwegian folk-music.

With Sergey Rachmaninov music found a remarkable pianist and a composer who continued something of the Russian romantic tradition. He left Russia at the time of the Revolution in and thereafter depended largely on his skill as a pianist to support himself and his family. He wrote four piano concertos, the second of which has won particular popularity.

Sergey Prokofiev at first seemed about to follow the example of Rachmaninov and seek a career outside the newly established Soviet Union. He had studied at the St Petersburg Conservatory, distinguishing himself as a pianist and as a composer, while shocking the more conservative of his teachers.

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Piano Concerto No. 23

While Rachmaninov severed ties with Soviet Russia, where he had, in any case, lost his family property, Prokofiev kept the way open for a possible return, travelling abroad in with official permission and returning definitively in This was unfortunate timing, as the year marked the start of official condemnation of trends towards modern idioms of Western European music. In France in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Debussy had set out to become a pianist, before turning exclusively to composition.

The work had its influence on Ravel and in the audience at the first performance in had been Rachmaninov among other distinguished musicians. In many ways Gershwin seemed to open new possibilities in the work, but these could only find an occasional place in music of the period. It led to the commissioning of a true piano concerto from Gershwin and, in the handling of larger forms, to his opera Porgy and Bess.

Today the concerto continues, in one form or another, its essence the contrast and combination of a solo instrument or group of solo instruments with a larger instrumental ensemble. The opportunities the form offers for virtuoso display make the concerto an important part of orchestral programmes, one that contemporary composers largely continue to explore and which solo performers demand.


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The youngest child and only surviving son of Leopold Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus was born in Salzburg in He showed early precocity both as a keyboard player and violinist, and soon turned his hand to composition. A series of other journeys followed, with important operatic commissions in Italy between and The following period proved disappointing to both father and son as the young Mozart was irked by the lack of opportunity and lack of appreciation of his gifts in Salzburg. Mozart spent the last ten years of his life in precarious independence in Vienna. Initial success with German and then Italian opera and series of subscription concerts were followed by financial difficulties.

In things seemed to have taken a turn for the better, despite the successor to the Emperor Joseph II , who had died in , lacking interest.

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