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Mozart Piano Concerto 6 Analysis Essay

The Piano Concerto No. 18 in B♭ major, KV. 456 is a concertante work for piano, or pianoforte, and orchestra by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In Mozart's own catalogue of his works, this concerto is dated 30 September 1784.[1]

The work is orchestrated for solo piano, flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, and strings.


For years, historical speculation was that Mozart had written this concerto for Maria Theresa von Paradis, based on a letter written around that time by Leopold Mozart to his daughter Nannerl. However, Hermann Ullrich has discounted this theory, based on the date of entry in Mozart's catalogue and the fact that von Paradis had left Paris at the start of October 1784, which indicated that there was not sufficient time to send von Paradis the concerto for performance.[1] Richard Maunder has countered with the idea that Mozart could still have sent the concerto to Paris and that it would have been forwarded to von Paradis in London, where it was possible that she performed the work in March 1785.[2]


The concerto is in three movements:

The slow movement is a theme and variations. Martha Kingdon Ward has commented that the slow movement of this concerto contains one of the "most tranquil" of Mozart's flute solos, specifically in the G-major variation.[3]

M.S. Cole has noted Mozart's use of meter changes in the finale, starting at measure 171, from 6
8 to 2
4 in the winds, with the piano following at measure 179. This changing of tempo in rondo finales was contrary to common practice at the time.[4] Joel Galand has performed a Schenkerian analysis of the rondo finale and noted features such as its novel use of ♭II as a remote key.[5]

Mozart wrote out two different cadenzas for the first movement. Joseph Swain has performed a Schenkerian analysis of each first-movement cadenza.[6]


External links[edit]

Piano concertos by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Childhood arrangements
Salzburg concertos
Concertos for two
and three pianos
Early Vienna concertos
Major Vienna concertos
  • No. 14 in E♭ major, K. 449
  • No. 15 in B♭ major, K. 450
  • No. 16 in D major, K. 451
  • No. 17 in G major, K. 453
  • No. 18 in B♭ major, K. 456
  • No. 19 in F major, K. 459
  • No. 20 in D minor, K. 466
  • No. 21 in C major, K. 467
  • No. 22 in E♭ major, K. 482
  • No. 23 in A major, K. 488
  • No. 24 in C minor, K. 491
  • No. 25 in C major, K. 503
Later concertos
Concert rondos
The principal theme of the concerto's first movement, shown here through the opening eight measures of the first violin part.
  1. ^ abUllrich, Hermann (October 1946). "Maria Theresia Paradis and Mozart". Music & Letters. 27 (4): 224–233. doi:10.1093/ml/27.4.224. JSTOR 727582. 
  2. ^Maunder, Richard (1991). "J.C. Bach and the Early Piano in London". Journal of the Royal Musical Association. 116 (2): 201–210. doi:10.1093/jrma/116.2.201. JSTOR 766338. 
  3. ^Ward, Martha Kingdon (1954). "Mozart and the Flute". Music & Letters. 35 (4): 294–308. doi:10.1093/ml/XXXV.4.294. JSTOR 730699. 
  4. ^Cole, M.S. (1974). "Mozart Rondo Finales with Changes of Meter and Tempo". Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Vol. 16, No. 1/4. T. 16 (Fasc. 1/4): 25–53. doi:10.2307/901841. JSTOR 901841. 
  5. ^Galand, Joel (Spring 1995). "Form, Genre, and Style in the Eighteenth-Century Rondo". Music Theory Spectrum. 17 (1): 27–52. doi:10.1525/mts.1995.17.1.02a00020. JSTOR 745763. 
  6. ^Swain, Joseph P. (1988). "Form and Function of the Classical Cadenza". The Journal of Musicology. 6 (1): 27–59. doi:10.1525/jm.1988.6.1.03a00020. JSTOR 763668. 
The Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595, is a concertante work by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, for piano or fortepiano and orchestra, the last piano concerto he wrote.

Time of composition

The manuscript is dated 5 January 1791. However, Alan Tyson's analysis of the paper on which Mozart composed the work indicated that Mozart used this paper between December 1787 and February 1789, which implies composition well before 1791. Simon Keefe has written that the composition of the work dates from 1788.[1] By contrast, Wolfgang Rehm has stated that Mozart composed this concerto in late 1790 and early 1791. Cliff Eisen has discussed the controversy over the time of composition in his review of the published facsimile of the score.[2]


The work followed by some years the series of highly successful concertos Mozart wrote for his own concerts, and by the time of its premiere Mozart was no longer so prominent a performer on the public stage. It is a popular assumption that this concerto was first performed at a concert on 4 March 1791 in Jahn's Hall by Mozart and by a clarinetist Joseph Bähr.[3] Seen from today's state of scholarship however there is absolutely no proof that Mozart actually performed K. 595 on this day. The concert might well have been premiered by Mozart's pupil Barbara Ployer on the occasion of a public concert at the Auersperg palace in January 1791.[4] This was Mozart's last appearance in a public concert,[3] as he took ill in September 1791 and died on 5 December 1791.

Instrumentation and movements

The work is scored for flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, solo piano and strings, which makes it thinner than Mozart's other late concertos, all of which except for No. 23 have trumpet and timpani. It has the following three movements:

  1. Allegro
  2. Larghetto in E-flat major
  3. Allegro

Although all three movements are in a major key, minor keys are suggested, as is evident from the second theme of the first movement (in the dominant minor), as well as the presence of a remote minor key in the early development of that movement and of the tonic minor in the middle of the Larghetto.

Another interesting characteristic of the work is its rather strong thematic integration of the movements, which would become ever more important in the nineteenth century. The principal theme of the Larghetto, for instance, is revived as the second theme of the final movement (in the 65th measure). The principal theme for finale was also used in Mozart's song "Sehnsucht nach dem Frühling" (also called "Komm, lieber Mai") , K. 596, which immediately follows this concerto in the Köchel catalogue.

Mozart wrote down his cadenzas for the first and third movements.

Simon Keefe has discussed the concerto in detail, with emphasis on the distinctive character and experiments in style of the concerto compared to Mozart's other concerti in this genre.[1]


  1. ^ abKeefe, Simon (2001). "A Complementary Pair: Stylistic Experimentation in Mozart's Final Piano Concertos, K. 537 in D and K. 595 in B". The Journal of Musicology18 (4): 658–684. doi:10.1525/jm.2001.18.4.658. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0277-9269(200123)18%3A4%3C658%3AACPSEI%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Q. Retrieved 2008-03-02. 
  2. ^Eisen, Cliff (September 1990). "Music Reviews: "Klavierkonzert F-dur, KV 459" and "Klavierkonzert B-dur, KV 595"". Notes (2nd Ser.)

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