Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Symphony No. 29 in A Major K 201
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21
Symphony No. 4 A Major (“Italian”), Op. 90
Despite its relatively high number, Symphony No. 29 in A major KV 201/186a,ranks among the early works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791). It dates from 1774, when the eighteen-year-old composer was serving at the Salzburg Archbishop’s court. The fast opening movement is in strict sonata form, with clearly demarcated expositions, development and repetition. The second movement, Andante, is in the sonata form too, composed in the subdominant D major key, 2/4 time and comes across as a loosened festive march with dotted rhythm. The third movement, Menuetto, also has a celebratory tone, with its middle part, the trio, written in the dominant key of E major and captivating with long notes played by the horns. The finale, Allegro con spirito, is not a rondo, as was common at the time, but is again in the sonata form. The last movement is permeated by a nimble theme with tremolo strings. The symphony is rounded off by a brief coda with several modulations.
Frederic Chopin (1810–1849), composer of Polish origin, was also an outstanding piano virtuoso. He spent the second half of his short life in Paris, which is why his composition has found its place in the “French” concert program today. He began to play the piano at the age of six under Czech-born pianist Vojtěch Živný and within a year he tried his hand at his first compositions (Polonaise in G minor and B flat major). Later he studied at the Lyceum and at the Warsaw Conservatory, where at nineteen he timidly fell in love with future singer Constance Gładkowska. This love was an emotional impulse, which gave Chopin the inspiration for composing his first concertante work – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in F minor.
His first two concertos – in E minor and F minor – were created and published around the same time during the last two years of his residence in his homeland (1829–1830). Their order has not been determined by the date of origin, but that of publication. Concerto in F minor in three movements shows what models Chopin had at that time while he was still a student. The first movement Maestoso bears the stamp of the stile brillante and Chopin’s admiration for piano masters such as Liszt and Humell. Chopin, an artist of fragile nature, was not able to express his youthful love, and used the second movement Larghetto as intimate confession. The rondo form of the final third movement is in accordance with the conventions of the genre and sounds with the rhythm of a Polish dance – mazurka. The world premiere of this concert was held on 17 March 1830 in Warsaw in the great hall of the National Theater and it was Chopin’s first public appearance.
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