Piano Concerto in a Major, K. 488

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Mozart completed the Piano Concerto in A Major, K. 488, in March 1786 and it is a graceful piece in three movements. It used a small orchestra with two flutes, two clarinets in A, two bassoons, and two horns in A, along with the usual string orchestra.

The first movement embodies the form called a “sonata form with double exposition.” This form is common in concerti and one feature of this form is that the first exposition does not end with a double bar and repeat sign indicating a literal repeat of the exposition. Instead the first exposition is for the orchestra without the soloist, and does not modulate to and conclude in the dominant, but stays in the tonic key throughout. When the soloist enters a second exposition begins which does modulate to the dominant key (or relative major if the work is in a minor key), and the second exposition does indeed cadence in the dominant. The only other variance from a standard (non-concerto) sonata form is the traditional cadenza, which occurs near the end of the recapitulation of the movement.

The second theme is presented following a transitional section. In the first exposition it is in the key of A, but in the second exposition it is heard in the dominant key of E Major. This phrase ends with a half cadence, and the following phrase ends with a PAC, creating a double parallel period. The closing theme is more intense in character and features interplay between the winds and strings as well as frequent use of the borrowed subdominant chord. It includes a number of different melodic ideas and concludes with a strong beat PAC in A Major in measure 62. The second exposition begins in measure 67 with the first theme stated by the solo pianist. The major difference in this exposition is the modulation to the dominant key of E Major, which takes place in the Transition section in measures 82-98. This second exposition ends in a surprising way in measure 142 with the half cadence falling on the fourth beat of the...
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