Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.21 in C Dur K.467

After the four early piano concertos of  WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART, which served as study essays and were composed on themes from other authors, the Fifth Piano Concerto from 1773 was the first one to contain entirely original Mozart music. His next innovative opus in the medium was the Concerto No. 9. And in the period between February 1784 and December 1786, Mozart created the celebrated ‘golden dozen’ of concertos; large-scale and opulent works, they are genuine models for generations of composers.

In May 1781, Mozart was dismissed from his position at the Court of the Salzburg Archbishop in a flagrantly scandalous manner, but it was this incident actually enabled him to leave for Vienna. Very shortly, there was a rapid increase in his performing, composing and teaching engagements. Despite his extremely intensive work commitments, he managed to effect his marriage to Constanze Weber. In the beginning of 1785, his father Leopold Mozart travelled to Vienna to pay a visit to the young couple, of whose marriage he had disapproved from the very outset.

Those years saw Mozart’s popularity as a pianist and composer rise to culmination. On 10 February 1785, Leopold witnessed how Wolfgang added his recently completed twentieth piano concerto in D Minor to his catalogue. On the same evening, three of his six quartets dedicated to Haydn were performed on one of the chamber nights with him in attendance. Leopold was extremely gratified to hear Haydn voice his appraisal: “Your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name”

In the first week of Leopold’s visit, Mozart wrote a new piano concerto – the C Major No. 21, K. 467, a work that stands in complete contrast to its D-Minor predecessor. Mozart entered the work in his catalogue of finished opuses on March 9 and on March 10 performed it at the Vienna Burgtheater. In a letter to Mozart’s sister, dated the same day, 10 March, Leopold reported, apart from the remuneration of 559 guilders received for the work, the following: “(…) the copyist was still at work when we got here, and your brother didn’t even have time to play through the rondo because he had to oversee the copying operation. And the premiere is tonight.” The concerto impresses with the emotional richness and beauty of the musical material in each of the movements, with a full-scale development, in a unified and masterfully organized form.

The first movement is rather expanded and with symphonic range. The Rondo finale stands out for its melodic grace, wit and ease, and the middle movement is among Mozart’s rarely beautiful lyrical and fascinating revelations. This second movement seems to have particular appeal to modern popular genres: Neil Diamond’s hit of the seventies, “Song Sung Blue”, is based on its theme, and it was also used in the soundtrack to the 1967 Swedish film Elvira Madigan.

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