Friday, September 21, 2012

A most productive period

In the early spring of 1786, during the same time that Le Nozze di Figaro was in rehearsal (just prior to its May 1st premiere), Mozart was busy composing two of his greatest piano concertos, No. 23 in A major, K. 488 and No. 24 in C minor, K. 491. These two concertos are considered two of the "moodiest" of his piano works because they moved from sullen and melancholy to bright and hopeful sometimes within a single movement. Number 23 contains a second movement composed in F# minor where the piano enters alone with a melancholic theme, followed by the orchestra carrying the mood further until it reaches a new point where the mood brightens in the A major section. Could this have been reflective of things going on in the composer's life at the time? Who knows? But this very successful period in Mozart's life would soon be followed by turmoil in his professional life, the departure of his English friends (including Nancy Storace), from Vienna, the death of his father, Leopold, estrangement from his sister, Nannerl,  financial difficulties, the birth of four more children (with the loss of three), and in just a little less than five years, his own sudden illness and death.

Featured here is the Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488.

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