Mozart – Violin Concerto No. 5 in A KV 219

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 5 in A KV 219 (1775)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

  1. Allegro aperto
  2. Adagio
  3. Rondo – Tempo di minuetto

As a youngster, Wolfgang taught himself to play the miniature violin given to him by his father, Leopold, an internationally renowned violin teacher. However, Wolfgang was also a master at the keyboard, becoming competent by around age 6, and later preferring this instrument over the violin, partly as a reaction against his father’s control. Contrast the 22 keyboard concertos with the measly 5 for the violin. The last four of these were written in 1775, Mozart’s “violin year”, whilst aged 19 and still living in Salzburg. By then Mozart was anxious to gain independence from his father’s control and to escape the hard life under the Archbishop of Salzburg.

The fifth and final violin concerto is full of novelties. Although the opening movement starts conventionally, the violin then enters with a languorous slow theme, before launching into a melody unrelated to the opening. In the rapturous slow movement the violin soars over subtly varying textures in the orchestra. The final movement combines a decorous minuet with a wild central section based on Hungarian tunes but sounding fashionably “Turkish” to 18th century ears.

Performed: 8 & 15 September 2019

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