BaL 08.06.24 - Mozart: Piano concerto 23 in A major, K488

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  • Pulcinella
    Host
    • Feb 2014
    • 10208

    BaL 08.06.24 - Mozart: Piano concerto 23 in A major, K488

    3.00 pm
    Building a Library

    Lucy Parham chooses her favourite version of Mozart's Piano Concerto No 23 in A major.

    This is one of Mozart’s most lyrical and poignant works, especially in the central slow movement. Mozart created the prototype of the piano concerto as we know it with the concertos he wrote for Vienna in the 1780s. He wrote it in 1786, the year of his great opera, The Marriage of Figaro. It is the most chamber-musical of Mozart’s mature piano concertos. The slow movement written in siciliano style reaches operatic depths of heartbreak. But all that dissolves in a finale of rollicking high spirits.

    302 listings on the Presto site!



    Recommended version
    Murray Perahia (piano/director)
    English Chamber Orchestra
    Sony Classical
    88697757852
    Last edited by Pulcinella; 08-06-24, 16:39. Reason: Recommended version added.
  • mikealdren
    Full Member
    • Nov 2010
    • 1151

    #2
    Such a wonderful work. Of the many recordings I still have a soft spot for Kempff, whose touch was perfect for Mozart. However it sound dated nowadays.

    Comment

    • Sir Velo
      Full Member
      • Oct 2012
      • 3175

      #3
      I like Lucy Parham, but one thing of which we can be certain, the fortepiano will be consigned to purdah for the duration of the programme!

      Comment

      • Ein Heldenleben
        Full Member
        • Apr 2014
        • 6054

        #4
        Originally posted by mikealdren View Post
        Such a wonderful work. Of the many recordings I still have a soft spot for Kempff, whose touch was perfect for Mozart. However it sound dated nowadays.
        Agreed - that opening theme combines in an outstanding way several Mozartian key traits : apparent simplicity , concealing real cleverness , surprise and lyrical beauty. It’s really just a series of falling thirds with an unexpected modulation in the second bar . You could play it a thousand times and never get bored with it. There at least two other wonderful tunes in that first movement. What a work!

        Comment

        • Pulcinella
          Host
          • Feb 2014
          • 10208

          #5
          Two BBC MM appearances of this concerto.

          Clifford Curzon/BBC Northern SO/George Hurst (Volume 17, Number 7) [BBC Archives: recorded 26 December 1963]
          Elisabeth Braus/BBCSSO/Holly Mathieson (Volume 28, Number 4) [City Halls, Glasgow, 5 September 2018]

          Apart from those it's ECO/Perahia on the shelves at Casa Pulcinella.

          Comment

          • Ein Heldenleben
            Full Member
            • Apr 2014
            • 6054

            #6
            Originally posted by Pulcinella View Post
            Two BBC MM appearances of this concerto.

            Clifford Curzon/BBC Northern SO/George Hurst (Volume 17, Number 7) [BBC Archives: recorded 26 December 1963]
            Elisabeth Braus/BBCSSO/Holly Mathieson (Volume 28, Number 4) [City Halls, Glasgow, 5 September 2018]

            Apart from those it's ECO/Perahia on the shelves at Casa Pulcinella.
            There are few musical joys to be compared to hearing K488 performed by Sir Clifford Curzon though I suspect Perahia and Braus come pretty close.

            Comment

            • LMcD
              Full Member
              • Sep 2017
              • 7633

              #7
              Originally posted by Ein Heldenleben View Post

              Agreed - that opening theme combines in an outstanding way several Mozartian key traits : apparent simplicity , concealing real cleverness , surprise and lyrical beauty. It’s really just a series of falling thirds with an unexpected modulation in the second bar . You could play it a thousand times and never get bored with it. There at least two other wonderful tunes in that first movement. What a work!
              That goes for a number of Mozart's piano concertos ... come to think of it, it goes for much of what Mozart wrote in all genres.
              I have recordings of K488 by Brendel/Marriner, Uchida/Tate and Zacharias/Zinman.

              Comment

              • Pulcinella
                Host
                • Feb 2014
                • 10208

                #8
                Tovey (Essays in Musical Analysis) has a long article on this concerto, but part of his introduction makes rather odd reading (and the strange punctuation doesn't help), at least to me!

                As there is no rule without an exception to prove it, I readily admit that the first eight and a half pages of this A major Concerto completely tally with that orthodox account of classical concerto form which I have taken such pains to refute every time I have discussed a classical concerto. And if a single concerto, and that a work which the text-books have not selected as specially typical, can establish a form as 'normal' in points wherein all the other classical examples differ from it and from each other so radically that these points can hardly be identified at all; then perhaps Mozart did here produce an orthodox first movement—as far as the middle of the ninth of its twenty-two pages. But at that point things begin to happen which cannot be found in any other concerto.
                We await what happens next!


                He also points out that the slow movement is Mozart's only composition in the key of F sharp minor.

                Comment

                • Barbirollians
                  Full Member
                  • Nov 2010
                  • 11378

                  #9
                  Wilhelm Kempff remains hard to match in this concerto - also one of Perahia's best recordings from his cycle.

                  Comment

                  • richardfinegold
                    Full Member
                    • Sep 2012
                    • 7312

                    #10
                    The slow movement was the theme music for the movie The Death of Stalin.

                    Comment

                    • smittims
                      Full Member
                      • Aug 2022
                      • 3298

                      #11
                      That Larghetto is said to be Mozart's only piece in F sharp minor. It's hard to think of another composer so choosy (or sensitive) about keys. I think he wrote only one piece in B minor and I searched for years to find anything by him in E minor; the slow movement of one of his quartets is about it, thoughit may turn up briefly in Don Giovanni .

                      At the risk of going off-topic (and I must accept some of the blame for the Firebird diversion) the history of E minor is not without interest. Used sparingly for many years,it suddenly had a vogue at the end of the 19th century (Rimsky, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Elgar , Sibelius, Rachmaninov etc. )

                      I couldn't pick just one K488, though I agree Clifford and Kempff are well up at the top .

                      Comment

                      • Pulcinella
                        Host
                        • Feb 2014
                        • 10208

                        #12
                        Given that F sharp minor is (simply) the relative minor of A major, this must suggest that Mozart never wrote another similarly related movement in a piece he wrote in A major. I wonder if he didn't like A major. I must look at the keys of his symphonies.

                        Comment

                        • Ein Heldenleben
                          Full Member
                          • Apr 2014
                          • 6054

                          #13
                          Originally posted by smittims View Post
                          That Larghetto is said to be Mozart's only piece in F sharp minor. It's hard to think of another composer so choosy (or sensitive) about keys. I think he wrote only one piece in B minor and I searched for years to find anything by him in E minor; the slow movement of one of his quartets is about it, thoughit may turn up briefly in Don Giovanni .

                          At the risk of going off-topic (and I must accept some of the blame for the Firebird diversion) the history of E minor is not without interest. Used sparingly for many years,it suddenly had a vogue at the end of the 19th century (Rimsky, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Elgar , Sibelius, Rachmaninov etc. )

                          I couldn't pick just one K488, though I agree Clifford and Kempff are well up at the top .
                          The duet of the Armed Knights in Die Zauberflöte is in B minor . A very sinister effect it creates too - in my view it’s one of the greatest pieces of music he ever wrote.
                          I could have sworn there was some E minor in the piano sonatas. Turns out there is - a brief passage in the rondo of the Gmajor K 283. Don’t think I’ve played that for fifty years. Funny how things etch in your mind.
                          Outside keyboard works that explore all the keys the only E minor work that springs to mind is the Beethoven Op.90. An absolute masterpiece that appears from time to time as a (in my view) very demanding Grade 8 piece.
                          Racking my brain for E minor in DG…

                          Comment

                          • oliver sudden
                            Full Member
                            • Feb 2024
                            • 264

                            #14
                            Don’t forget the Mozart E minor violin sonata!

                            Comment

                            • Ein Heldenleben
                              Full Member
                              • Apr 2014
                              • 6054

                              #15
                              Originally posted by oliver sudden View Post
                              Don’t forget the Mozart E minor violin sonata!
                              Had I been aware of it I wouldn’t !
                              Gone through Don Giovanni . I’d forgotten how chromatic it is and how much it modulates. A short patch of Deh Vieni flirts with F# minor but there are very few bars of E minor in the whole work. O Statua Gentilissima is in E major - not much used by WAM - and appears to go through most of the others. What an extraordinary piece that is …

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