1 May 2019

MOZART: Piano Concerto No 21 in C K467

From Podcast Classics, 12:01 am on 1 May 2019

The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between. ~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Portrait of Mozart

Portrait of Mozart Photo: Barbara Krafft, Public Domain

It is universally accepted that Mozart is one of the greatest musicians of all time and that everything he touched - be it orchestral, vocal or instrumental - was transformed into models and sources of inspiration for composers who followed him.

The two years from February 1784 to March 1786 were a period of prolific creativity for Mozart.

Among the flurry of works that he composed in this two-year period were no fewer than eleven piano concertos, including this one which was completed in early March 1785.

Lars Vogt piano/director, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Lars Vogt

Lars Vogt Photo: Giorgia Bertazzi

Leopold Mozart was present at the première and described his son's latest concerto as 'astonishingly difficult' to play, although these technical demands apparently caused Mozart little concern.

Because he wrote the piano concertos for his own concert performances in Vienna, Mozart did not write down the solo cadenzas. He improvised these during the performance. Later pianists need to either devise their own cadenzas or use those created by others.

For German pianist and conductor Lars Vogt that is all part of the appeal. “That’s one essential thing in music making is that one spontaneous moment,” he says. “Performing is a balance between head and heart. Both… are incredibly important."

There are three movements:

  • Allegro maestoso
  • Andante
  • Allegro vivace assai

Piano Concerto No 21 gained a nick-name from its use in a 1967 Swedish film, Elvira Madigan.

Recorded 26 October 2018, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington by RNZ Concert

Producer: David McCaw

Engineer: Graham Kennedy

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