Mozart: Horn Concertos / Rondo (CD)

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Leutgeb, Ass, Ox and Jester...Mozart‘s instrumental concertos did not result from a random desire to compose, they were always composed to mark an occasion. Mozart wrote them either for personal use in concert, as was the case with his piano and violin concertos, or for at the behest of renowned and excellent soloists. Thus three of his four horn concertos and his Rondo in E flat were also tailor-made for the virtuoso and his instrument: Joseph Leutgeb (1732-1811) had played the French horn in the Salzburger Hofkapelle until 1777, and was already friendly with Mozart at the time. In 1781, the composer and the virtuoso met again in Vienna, where Leutgeb ran a lucrative cheese business alongside his musical activities. The relationship between the two of them must have been rather unusual, as is demonstrated by remarks such as "Wolfgang Amadé Mozart has taken pity on Leitgeb, ass, ox and jester in Vienna, May 27, 1783", which Mozart wrote in the manuscript of the concerto, which gave cause to this assumption. Was Leutgeb then truly naive, as has often been written; or, perhaps, does not the quality of the composition written by Mozart for Leutgeb prove that the relationship was characterised by artistic respect?

Due to its rather modest musical capacities, the horn of the time was not a first choice for a solo instrument. As it did not yet have any valves, its tonal range was restricted to natural harmonics. Not until halfway through the 18th century was it possible, by means of so-called "stopping" (i.e. by inserting a hand in the bell of the instrument), to manipulate the pitch, which made it possible to play the notes in between the harmonics and thus diatonic scales in the lower reaches. Considering the numerous high demands made by Mozart of the soloists in his concertos, it is clear that Leutgeb must have virtually mastered this technique.

Only a few years ago was it possible to pinpoint a relatively unambiguous period of composition for the horn concertos. All the works were written during the last decade of Mozart‘s life. The solitary Rondo in E flat, K. 371 (completion and cadenza by Alan Civil) dates from March 21, 1781. It is possible that it was really meant as the last movement of a further horn concerto, of which no more than a sketch for an introductory movement (K. 370b) has been preserved. The Concerto in E flat, K. 417 – from which manuscript the above-quoted "dedication" was taken – dates from May 27, 1783 and, despite the usual three-movement form, contains some unusual features. Thus for example the Rondo-Finale deviates to the realm of the minor key – most unusual for Mozart – and it also surprises the listener shortly before the end with a practical joke, which forces the musicians to make two new starts. On June 26, 1786 Mozart completed his Concerto in E flat, K. 495, the score of which he wrote in multi-coloured ink. Did he perhaps want to throw the "naive" Leutgeb, or perhaps – as is more likely – emphasise individual voices and thematic lines, and also mark subtle differences in dynamics? The relationship between K. 495 and its predecessor K. 417 has been discussed by numerous authors. Einstein even speaks "of a duplicate, though on a higher level, due to the fact that Mozart wrote it three years later ". In addition, echoes can be found of his Piano Sonata K. 497 and Cantata "Die Maurerfreude" K. 471. Although at first it was dated earlier, the Concerto in E flat, K. 447 is now believed to date from the year 1787, and is considered by connoisseurs and soloists alike to be the most important of the horn concertos. The complex structures confirm this most impressively. The two-movement Concerto in D, K. 386b with its Allegro K. 412 and the final Rondo K. 514 was only written the year Mozart died – 1791 – and was not completed. Neither is the definite version of the Rondo by Mozart, but by his pupil, Franz Xaver Süßmayer.

Tytuł: Mozart: Horn Concertos / Rondo
Wykonawca: Academy of St. Martin In Fields
Kompozytor: Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus
Solista: Civil Alan
Dyrygent: Marriner Neville Sir
Orkiestra: Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Dystrybutor: Music Island
Data premiery: 2005-09-26
Rok nagrania: 2005
Nośnik: CD
Liczba nośników 1
Indeks: 67660414
 
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