Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ‎– The Late Piano Concertos


This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.


Mozart’s piano concertos are, in my opinion, the one genre of work where we can truly appreciate his growth as a composer, as he produced them continuously throughout his career. Concertos Nos 1–4 (K. 37, 39, 40 and 41) are orchestral and keyboard arrangements of sonata movements by other composers, leaving 23 “original” concerti (concertos nos. 7 and 10 are for three and two keyboards respectively).

I began sharing some of what we would call Mozart’s “late” Piano Concertos with concertos no. 17 and 21 recently featured. Today’s post shares music from a TIME-LIFE compilation set of 5 LP reissues from the early 1970’s and that I acquired many years ago at a second-hand store. I already featured Concerto no. 21 from that compilation set, and concerto no. 24 many years ago on a post about Sir Clifford Curzon. The three works presented today (nos. 18, 22 and 25) feature three different soloists and orchestras.

The concerti are discussed in a well-written Wikipedia synthesis article on the Mozart concertos. Mozart conceived a unique vision of the piano concerto that attempted to solve the ongoing problem of how thematic material is dealt with by the orchestra and piano, and most of his best examples are from later works.

Three concertos composed in 1784, K. 453 (No. 17), 456 (No. 18) and 459 (No. 19), can be considered to form a group, as they all share certain features, such as the same rhythm in the opening. K. 453 (featured in our recent Previn montage) was written for Barbara Ployer, and is famous in particular for its last movement. The next concerto in B flat, K. 456 (featured today) was, for a long time, believed to have been written for the blind pianist Maria Theresa von Paradis to play in Paris.

Next on our program, from 1785, K. 482 (no. 22 in E-flat) is slightly less popular, possibly because it lacks the striking themes featured in K. 467 (heard in our Ashkenazy share). To close this week’s share, we have the final work of the year 1786, No. 25, K. 503, one of the most expansive of all classical concertos, rivaling Beethoven’s Emperor concerto.

One final note – the clip of Barenboim playing and conducting no. 18 has been withdrawn from YouTube, but I do have it posted as an MP3 track on our Internet Archive version of today’s playlist.

Happy listening!



Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No. 18 In B Flat Major, K. 456
English Chamber Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, piano & conducting

Piano Concerto No. 22 In E Flat Major, K. 482
Karl Engel, piano
Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra
Leopold Hager, conducting
YouTube - https://youtu.be/YFQf-05zfOk

Piano Concerto No. 25 In C Major, K. 503
Alicia De Larrocha, piano
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Georg Solti, conducting
YouTube - https://youtu.be/-XVrRB_wgPM

Label: Time Life Records ‎– STL M01
Format: 5 × Vinyl, LP, Compilation
Issued in 1973
More info - https://www.discogs.com/Wolfgang-Ama...elease/4295176