Friday, February 9, 2018

Mozart 2-3-4

No. 271 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages, which can be found in our archives at

This week’s podcast is intended to be part of our Time Capsule project, and is a sampling of Mozart’s many concertos for solo instrument and orchestra, featuring three instruments – the horn, the violin and the piano. As I often due, allow me a little numerical fun as the works follow the numerical sequence 2, 3 and 4.

Last year, as part of our Friday series and our Vinyl’s Revenge series we spent some time exploring Mozart’s piano concertos, so I don’t plan to say much about this week’s selection in that department – the Piano Concerto no. 4 - other than to say that it is part of Geza Anda’s landmark complete set as soloist and conductor with the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg, featured in a few of our past podcasts devoted to the Mozart corpus.

Mozart composed several concerti for wind instruments – flute, bassoon, oboe (repurposed for the flute), clarinet and horn, and many of these have been part of past podcasts and Tuesday shares. This week’s selection, the horn concerto no. 2 has a very catchy rondo finale – a formula Mozart will reuse in his fourth horn concerto.

According to the Köchel catalog of Mozart’s works, he may have composed as many as seven violin concerti – the final two (K 268 and 271a) fall in the “doubtful” category – see our recent post on Mozart’s 37th symphony for a larger discussion on these spurious entries in the catalog. Mozart’s five “numbered” concertos were all composed in 1775 and today’s podcast features the concerto no. 3 which Mozart in his own correspondence calls the “Straßburg” concerto as the rondo finale borrows from a local Strasburgian folk tune, a sort of pot-pourri in the French style. The podcast performance is from the EMI complete cycle of the violin concertos by David Oistrakh as both soloist and conductor with the Berlin Philharmonic.

To complete the podcast, I added a performance of the Violin Concerto (no. 7) in D major, K. 271a. It has also been called the Kolb Concerto due to a reference by Mozart’s father, Leopold, as "the concerto you [Wolfgang] wrote for Kolb". Kolb was originally thought to be Franz Xavier Kolb (1731–82), but it also could have been his older son Johann Andreas (born sometime around 1746-8).
The work may have been completed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on 16 July 1777 in Salzburg; the true provenance of the concerto remains unknown and debated.

I think you will love this music too.

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