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8.550212 - MOZART: Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Piano Concerto in F Major, K. 37
The four pasticcio-concertos of Mozart are based on material drawn, as far as sources have been identified, from the works of composers he had met abroad, chiefly during his time in Paris in 1763 and 1764 and again in 1766. The first of them, K. 37 in F major, was written in Salzburg in April 1767 and is scored for pairs of oboes and horns with strings and pianoforte or cembalo (harpsichord). The first movement and four other movements from these early Mozart concertos are taken from a set of six sonatas for keyboard with violin accompaniment published in Paris in 1756 by the German musician Hermann Friedrich Raupach, former Kapellmeister in St. Petersburg, whom Mozart had met in Paris in 1763/4 and with whom he had improvised at the keyboard, sitting on his knee, as he was later to do with Johann Christian Bach in London. The C major Andante is borrowed from an unknown composer, and the final Allegro from the Strasbourg musician Leontzi Honauer, who was among those German composers leading the way in publication in Paris, as Leopold Mozart relates in a letter home to the wife of his Salzburg landlord.
The second concerto, K. 39 in B flat major, was written in June 1767, with a first and last movement again taken from Raupach and an Andante based on a movement by Johann Schobert, a harpsichordist and composer much admired in Paris at the time. Schobert, who died, with his French wife and one of his two children, in 1767 from eating poisonous mushrooms, w rote music of considerable charm, which Mozart seems to have admired well enough, although Leopold Mozart found the man jealous and insincere. The movement used here contains ideas which go some way towards explaining Mozart's approval. The concerto is scored for the usual orchestra of two oboes, two horns and strings.
The D major concerto, K. 40, after a first movement based on Honauer, has recourse to an even greater Parisian master of the period, Johann Gottfried Eckard, who had settled in Paris in 1758, remaining there until his death in 1809. Eckard, who had learned much from the writing of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, was an early supporter of the piano, as opposed to the harpsichord and distinguished as a performer and master of improvisation. The third movement is arranged from C.P .E. Bach's portrait piece La Boehmer, which had appeared in the early 1760s in the Musikalisches Mancherley. The concerto is scored for pairs of oboes, horns and trumpets, and the usual strings, and includes cadenzas written by the composer.
The fourth concerto, K. 41, in G major, is based in its outer movements on Honauer and in the central G minor Andante on Raupach. It is scored for pairs of flutes and horns in addition to the usual strings and was written out, like K. 39, in July 1767. It concludes a group of concertos that demonstrate, in view of their origin, the remarkable homogeneity of galant style, the German style that had begun to dominate in Paris, as Leopold Mozart explained. The material is arranged and expanded by Mozart to provide music for his own use on tour, and it seems to have been these works that he played in Brno in December 1767, an event recalled by a diarist of the time, and referred to by another who records Leopold Mozart's approval of the abilities of the Brno musicians who accompanied the performance. The concertos were not simply exercises, corrected in one or two places by the vigilant Leopold Mozart, but part of the stock-in-trade of a travelling virtuoso.
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