The Classical Concerto
CD 6 of 24
Just as we live in a world of constant change, so too did the composers of the Classical period. While technological advancement made possible the development of new instruments and improvements in ones already existing, and while the players were fast becoming virtuosos, the style of writing adapted to these changes. The concertos on this disc share traits with the concertos of CD 4, such as each having three movements, fast-slow-fast, while the major difference is that the part of the soloist has become more elaborate than its Baroque counterpart. Cadenzas have been added to Mozart’s and Beethoven’s creations, the cadenza being a spot for the soloist to show off their stuff before the end of the first movement.
The Trumpet Concerto of Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809) is the concerto for trumpeters to master. Composed in 1796, this work was written for a key trumpet, not the valve trumpet that we see today. Keys were situated on one side of the instrument: in Austria these were located on the left; in Italy on the right, while the opposite hand provided balance. The instrument used in the concert hall and on the parade ground today was introduced about 1840.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) actually wrote his Clarinet Concerto for the basset clarinet, a predecessor to the instrument we know today. Although admiring the clarinet, Mozart lamented their scarcity, writing to his father after a sojourn to Mannheim, “Ah, if only we had clarinets too!” Then he met Anton Stadler, a clarinettist fascinated by the low notes of his instrument. Stadler was able to interest a local clarinet maker, Theodor Lotz, into designing an instrument that could go two full tones lower than the conventional clarinet of the day.
Mozart began to write a concerto for Stadler’s basset clarinet in G Major but someone – no one knows for sure – rewrote the solo part in A Major, perhaps to make use of Lotz’s tonally expanded clarinet. Whatever the reason, listen to the low notes at 2:15 and 3:00 (Track 4) – two of the richest sounding notes one could hope to hear!
With his Fourth Piano Concerto, Beethoven really shakes things up. The orchestral prologue we have heard in the other concertos is gone. Instead, the piano is heard making a solo introduction but, like a poor party host, then disappears! In the piano’s absence the orchestra sketches out the main melody and motif, passing it around, using the full range of colours that the orchestra can provide. When the piano does re-enter the scene (2:59), its playful dancing dominates the movement. The mood constantly evolves with new melodies being introduced, the piano darting in and out of the orchestral playing. The second movement, by contrast, has the piano and orchestra acting rudely, cutting each other off mid-sentence, interjecting while the other tries to speak. All is reconciled in the third movement, however, as piano and orchestra blend gloriously for a grand finale.
(Please find our recommended audio excerpts for this CD on the bottom of the "Overview" page.)
- Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)Trumpet Concerto in E Flat, H.VIIe/1
- 1. 1. Allegro6:26
- 2. 2. Andante4:02
- 3. 3. Allegro4:33Maurice André, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Hans Stadlmair
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)Clarinet Concerto In A, K.622
- 4. 1. Allegro12:29
- 5. 2. Adagio8:37
- 6. 3. Rondo (Allegro)8:21Charles Neidich, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
- Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)Piano Concerto No.4 in G Major, Op.58
- Cadenzas: Wilhelm Kempff
- 7. 1. Allegro moderato - Cadenza: Wilhelm Kempff17:15
- 8. 2. Andante con moto4:49
- 9. 3. Rondo. Vivace - Cadenza: Wilhelm Kempff10:32Wilhelm Kempff, Berliner Philharmoniker, Ferdinand Leitner