Magnificent Mozart: Concert Four

Mozart, Mozart, Mozart – Three Concertos, Three Artists, Three Instruments

Maestro David Mairs asks, “So how can the music of a single composer be presented in a concert which brings variety. How about performing not one concerto, but three? How about hearing a movement from three different concertos for three different instruments performed by three different artists from the Mid-Texas Symphony? Does Mozart sound the same when the solo instrument is a flute, or a clarinet, or a bassoon? It’s time we found out, and Rita, Vanguel, and Jonathan will help us do that.

 
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Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major, K. 313 performed by MTS principal flute, Rita Linard

Mozart composed the Concerto in G major in Mannheim, early in 1778, and the work was probably performed there by Johann Baptist Wendling, the solo flutist of the Mannheim Orchestra. The National Symphony Orchestra gave its first performance of this work in a chamber orchestra concert conducted by Pinchas Zukerman on March 12, 1978, with Eugenie Zukerman as soloist, and performed it most recently at Wolf Trap on July 13, 2000, with Paula Robison as soloist and Anthony Aibel conducting.  In addition to the solo flute, the score calls for 2 oboes, 2 horns, and strings. (The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Richard Freed)

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Clarinet Concerto in A, K622, performed by MTS principal clarinet, Vanguel Tangarov 

This concerto was completed in 1791, the year of Mozart’s death, marked his farewell to instrumental music. It was also the first clarinet concerto to be written by a major composer – except that Mozart did not write it for the clarinet at all. It is rare that we ever hear this most famous of wind concertos played on the instrument Mozart intended – the basset clarinet, a clarinet that has four semitones added to its lower range. The inventor of the basset clarinet, and its leading virtuoso, was Mozart’s friend and fellow Mason, Anton Stadler, for whom Mozart had written the Clarinet Quintet in A, in 1789. 

 
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Bassoon Concerto in B flat major, K 191, performed by MTS principal bassoon, Jonathan Castillo

With the exception of a spurious work now attributed to François Devienne (K.Anh. 230a), this piece is the only extant work Mozart wrote for solo bassoon. It is possible that he composed others; he is reputed to have composed three further bassoon concertos and a bassoon sonata for Thaddäus Baron von Dürnitz, the recipient of the Piano Sonata in D, K. 284. but none has been accounted for. The B flat concerto was completed in Salzburg in June 1774. That year the teenage Mozart was afforded the rare luxury of remaining at home’. The concerto, composed for an unknown recipient, is cast in the usual three movements, and its sunny, bubbling lyricism perhaps shows the influence of Italian opera. (Brian Robbins)