1785: Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 22 in Eb major

TUESDAY, February 25, 2020

(This is a very unusual Mozart concerto because although it is written in major, it flips to minor for the second movement. I’ve set the video to start where that switch happens. You can listen to the whole thing by sliding the drag bar to the beginning, but I really want you to listen to the slow movement first. Try experiencing that darker and more thoughtful mood first, then listen to the whole concerto, if possible to notice how important that switch is. That switch only happens five times in all 27 concertos, and it never happens – EVER – in the symphonies or pianos sonatas.)

This whole post is blue, because I’m thinking of “blue” as perhaps just a little bit darker in mood. That is how this makes me feel.)

VIII – Piano Concerto No. 22 in Eb major, K. 482, (1785) – age 29… 

This is fourth of the concertos with a slow movement in a minor key. The Piano Concerto No. 22 in E♭ major, K. 482, is a work for piano, or fortepiano, and orchestra by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composed in December 1785.  It is a theme and variations in C minor.

This is the first piano concerto of Mozart’s to include clarinets in its scoring, and is scored for solo piano, flute, two clarinets (in Bb), two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani (in Eb and Bb), and strings. The orchestration is quite rich.

Mozart’s father – Leopold Mozart (November 14, 1719 – May 28, 1787) – wrote in a famous letter to Nannerl that he was surprised that a call was made for the slow movement to be repeated – “a rather unusual occurrence!”. In other words, the audience was so moved by this music that they wanted to hear it again.

Note: Maria Mozart (30 July 1751 – 29 October 1829), also called Marianne and nicknamed “Nannerl”, was a musician, the older sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. She was also very talented, though perhaps not as much as her famous brother, but because she was a woman any chances she had to make a career in music was destroyed by her father and the norms of society at the time. This is very similar to what happened to Fanny Mendelssohn, the sister of Felix Mendelssohn.

1 thought on “1785: Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 22 in Eb major

  1. To me the minor becomes more dramatic when I listen to the actual switch and change of mood. So I went back and did that. It is indeed startling and interesting.

    The fact of Nannerl has always been a sore point.

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