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Monday, January 02, 2006

Mozart's Greatest Work: Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622

Well, I'm back from a long break. First off, I want to wish everyone a very happy new year!! Not only is it a new year, but it is a "Mozartean" new year. That's right, in case you haven't heard, 2006 will mark Mozart's 250th birthday. So be prepared to hear about Mozart quite a lot.

Speaking of Mozart, I just came across the results from a poll conducted by Classic FM asking users what they felt was Mozart's greatest work. About 103,000 users responded and their top choice: the Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622. This was followed by the Requiem, the Ave Verum Corpus, the Piano Concerto No. 21, and The Marriage of Figaro.

Mozart wrote the Clarinet Concerto, his last instrumental work, in October of 1791, only two months before his untimely death. Indeed, Mozart was a major factor in helping to establish a solid place for the clarinet in the orchestra. Mozart's love of the clarinet developed during the time he spent in Mannheim in 1777 and 1778. His admiration of the instrument grew even more when he met the brothers Anton and Johann Stadler in Vienna who were both virtuoso clarinetists.

Mozart was so impressed with Anton's playing that he wrote not only the Clarinet Concerto for him, but also the Piano and Wind Quintet, K. 452, the Clarinet Trio, K. 498, and the Clarinet Quintet, K. 581.

The concerto has only a quiet orchestral background allowing the clarinet to truly shine. Instead of oboes, Mozart decided to score the work with flutes along with 2 bassoons, 2 horns and strings. However, an interesting aspect of the concerto is that Mozart gave the bass line primarily to the cellos without the support of the double basses. This increases further the serenity of the work.

Mozart's writing for the clarinet proves that he truly understood the instrument fully exploiting it to its true potential without showy cadenzas or virtuosity for its own sake. In the concerto, some of the best cantabile passages ever written for clarinet can be found.

A sense of sorrow is ever present throughout the concerto not only in the Adagio, but also in the other two movements as well suggesting that Mozart may have foreseen his approaching fate. Perhaps H. C. Robbins Landon described the concerto best in his use of a quote from Shakespeare: "The heart dances, but not for joy."

From: [BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Mozart clarinet piece tops poll ]

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Comments on "Mozart's Greatest Work: Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622"

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:34 PM, January 02, 2006) : 

I love your website. I have great appreciate for music and art..

I decided to dedicate a blog on music.

Would love to share the love of music with everyone! Hope to be in touch
more.

Hope you will like my website too.

Elvin
Music, The Flower of Culture
http://www.elvinsiew.com

 

Anonymous Marcia said ... (8:55 AM, January 15, 2006) : 

Hello there....just stumbled across your site while out and about in the blogosphere. I do agree that the Clarinet Concerto is great...fabulous even...but my vote has to go to K407, the Horn Quintet. It is by far Mozart's most delicate writing for horn. Love, love, love it.

I'll pop back for a visit sometime.
That British Library project is amazing!

 

Anonymous Marcia said ... (9:00 AM, January 15, 2006) : 

Hello, me again. Seems I don't know my own url. Let me try that again. Sorry!

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:47 AM, August 05, 2006) : 

helloooo, did everyone forget the greatest piece of music of ALL time?

that would be, of course, the fourth movement of the jupiter symphony, hands down.

 

Blogger Jeff said ... (11:19 PM, July 22, 2009) : 

Yes I agree with anonymous!! Jupiter Symphony Mvt. 4 all the way!!!! God speaking to Mozart.

 

Anonymous Jose said ... (7:13 AM, September 16, 2009) : 

i love the content on you blog. Great articles!
http://shtarticles.blogspot.com/

 

Anonymous DJ equipment said ... (6:42 AM, January 17, 2011) : 

Great post! It was also one of Mozart's final completed works, and his final purely instrumental work. The concerto is remarkable for its flimsy interplay between soloist and orchestra, and for the lack of overly extroverted display on the part of the soloist.

 

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