Recorded on 12/31/1969, uploaded on 01/23/2011
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
A major factor in Mozart’s initial success in Vienna was the concerts he put on with himself as soloist. Theater space in Vienna was limited at the time and Mozart’s concerts often took place in unusual venues, such as a large room in an apartment building and the ballroom of a restaurant. Nevertheless, the concerts were immensely popular and provided Mozart with a brief period of financial security. The concerts lasted from 1782-85 with Mozart premiering three or four new concertos each season. One of these concertos is the Piano Concerto No. 13 in C major.
The first movement begins with a triumphant fanfare motif, initiated piano by the first violins, then answered by the seconds and finally by the violas and basses. From there the orchestra bursts into an exuberant exclamation and proceeds on in its treatment of the fanfare motif. However, despite its promising introduction the movement is often considered a letdown. Many writers have commented that the succeeding solo parts do not live up to the promise of the orchestral introduction. It should be kept in mind, however, that not only was the piano concerto itself still in a formative stage on its path to maturity, but so was Mozart. The Piano Concerto No. 13, with its militant opening theme, shows an ambitious composer striving for the perfection that he would attain in his later concertos.
The Andante second movement in F major shows Mozart’s already finely developed melodic gift. Cast in a ternary form, it opens with a lyrical melody first announced by the violins and echoed in a more florid manner by the piano. This second statement closes in the key of the dominant, bringing about the middle section of the movement. The middle section is relatively brief and leads to a solitary restatement of the opening theme. An extensive coda, which mingles in a semitone idea from the middle portion of the movement, brings about a quite and serene close.
The finale, considered to be the best part of the work, is an unusually constructed sonata-rondo. Two distinct ideas in C major are presented at the outset: first a sprightly tune in 6/8 time followed by a more casual dance-like melody. Coming to a dramatic close on the dominant, the finale is interrupted by an extended Adagio full of pathos and presenting a masterful transformation of the Rondo theme already heared. The finale then seems to “start over,” presenting the same two melodies again. This time, however, the second melody appears in the key of G major, establishing its role as the first episode. The development section, or second episode, begins abruptly on the dominant of A minor and focuses on the material of the principal Rondo theme. The recapitulation begins with the earlier G major melody but it, too, is interrupted by the Adagio heard at the beginning. A final statement of the Rondo theme accompanied by prolonged semitone oscillations on the tonic and dominant form the concluding section of the work. Quite surprisingly, the work ends on a pianissimo tonic chord. Joseph DuBose
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