The World's most beautiful music: Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23, K 488

>> Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major (K. 488) is a musical composition written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It was finished, according to Mozart's own catalog, on March 2, 1786, around the time of the premiere of his opera, The Marriage of Figaro. It was one of three subscription concerts given that spring and was probably played by Mozart himself at one of these. The concerto is scored for strings, one flute, two clarinets, two bassoons, and two horns.

It has three movements:

1. Allegro in A major and common time
2. Adagio in F sharp minor and 6/8 time
3. Allegro assai in A and crossed common time.

The first movement is mostly sunny with the occasion melancholic touches typical of other Mozart pieces in A major.

The second movement is impassioned and somewhat operatic in tone. Formally this is a sonata form, the piano entering immediately with a theme that has unusually wide leaps; and also as with many such minor-mode sonata movements with Mozart, we hear and effective device where the major-mode secondary material in minor in the end. It is the only movement by Mozart in F sharp minor.

The third movement is a rondo, shaded by moves into other keys as is the opening movement (to C major from E minor and back during the secondary theme in this case, for instance) and with a central section whose opening in F sharp minor is interrupted by a clarinet tune in D major, an intrusion that reminds us, notes Girdlestone, that instrumental music at the time was informed by opera buffa and its sudden changes of point of view as well as of scene.

(Source: Wikipedia)

The movement I have featured here is the Adagio in F sharp minor--probably my single most favorite movement of any of the Mozart piano Concerti. It has a rather "moody" tone about it, moving from a melancholy, minor A section into a rather vibrant and playful, yet still tender, B section in a major key, and back again to the original theme.

The artist featured here is Hungarian pianist and conductor, Zoltán Kocsis.


Jane Marie March 6, 2008 at 2:35 PM  

This is beautiful. I could listen to Mozart all day. How relaxing.


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