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ClassicsOnline Home » MOZART: Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4
"you're in for a treat"
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Piano Concerto in F Major, K. 37
Piano Concerto in B Flat Major, K. 39
Piano Concerto in D Major, K. 40
Piano Concerto in G Major, K. 41
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.
Jendo Jandó was born at Pécs, in south Hungary, in 1952. He
started to learn the piano when he was seven and later studied at the Ferenc Liszt Academy
of Music under Katalin Nemes and pal Kadosa, becoming assistant to the latter on his
graduation in 1974. Jandó has won a number of piano competitions in Hungary and abroad,
including first prize in the 1973 Hungarian Piano Concours and a first prize in the
chamber music category at the Sydney International Piano Competition in 1977. In addition
to his many appearances in Hungary, he has played widely abroad in Eastern and Western
Europe, in Canada and in Japan. He has recorded all Mozart's piano concertos and sonatas
for Naxos. Other recordings for the Naxos label include the concertos of Grieg and
Schumann as well as Rachmaninov's Second Concerto and Paganini Rhapsody and the complete
piano sonatas of Beethoven.
The Concentus Hungaricus was established in February 1985 by
Péeter Popa and consists of leading members of the Budapest Symphony Orchestra under the
co-leadership of Ildikó Hegyi and Pál Andrássy. The 16 member ensemble has worked with
leading Hungarian and foreign musicians, including Vilmos Tatrai, Andras Mihaly, Miklós
Perenyi, Denes Kovacs, Jeno Jandó, György Pauk and Viktoria Jagling, and performs
frequently at home and abroad. The repertoire of the group ranges from Purcell and Corelli
to Schoenberg, Bartók and Alban Berg, while recordings include extensive studio work and
releases by Hungaroton and Naxos.
The violinist Ildiko Hegyi was born in Budapest and studied
there at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music before continuing her studies in Leningrad (St.
Petersburg) under Borisz Gutnyikov. She was a member of the prize-winning Eder Quartet,
with which she toured the Far East, the United States of America and Western Europe, and
leader of the Budapest Chamber Ensemble. Since 1985 she has been leader and principal
soloist with the Concentus Hungaricus and since 1990 has been leader of the Hungarian
Radio Orchestra (Budapest Symphony Orchestra).
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MOZART: Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4