Mozart's move to Vienna fromSalzburg in 1781 heralds musical developments and reflects social changes. On 9May 1781, he wrote to his father I am no longer so unfortunate as to be inSalzburg service (Mersmann 1938: 161): he had been frustrated by the limitedopportunities of his employment at court. The joy of leaving Salzburg forVienna seems to have been musically inspiring, and the next few years wereprolific, not least in the composition of piano concertos: Mozart wrote 12between 1784 and 1786.
The influence of J C Bach on Mozartwas significant. The two had met in London in 1764, when Mozart was still aboy. In 1772, Mozart created his first three piano concertos by rearrangingthree of J C Bach's sonatas. Beyond the concerto structure, the detail ofMozart's music suggests Bach's influence. His subtle ornamentation and cleveruse of suspensions and ambiguities of tonality also characterises J C Bach'swork.
Mozart's use of keys isparticularly innovative: in the first movement of the A major Piano ConcertoK488, the development section incorporates a passage of dialogue between thewinds and a larger grouping of piano and strings, modulating through E minor atbar 156, C major at bar 160, A minor at bar 164 and then through F major at bar166 to D minor at bar 168. The more obvious, related tonalities for a work in Amajor would be D and E major, the subdominant and dominant keys, and F# minor,the relative minor key. This type of harmonic device gives a strong sense ofdeparture from the safety and stability of the home key, making its eventualreturn in the recapitulation stronger and more satisfying.
This passage also shows examples ofMozart's innovative orchestration: the small group-large group contrast ofearlier concertos becomes a three-way interchange, with piano, winds andstrings forming three groups which are united and contrasted in a range ofcombinations. Conclusion
Mozart's innovations took thekeyboard concerto to a new level, and give some...
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