Mozart, Horn Concerto No. 4 in E flat, K495
Written in Vienna, 1786.
Written for Mozart's childhood friend, Ignaz Leutgeb, who was a very skilled horn player. There were no valves on French horns at the time, so Leutgeb would have played this concerto on a natural horn - listen out for the lip trills, hand-stopping and rapid tonguing, which are technically challenging on the natural horn.
Mozart's four horn concertos are now a major part of horn players' repertoire.
The solo horn is accompanied by 2 oboes, 2 horns and strings.
Listen to the characteristics of the concerto that are typically Mozartian:
- Precise, neat forms.
- The melody is predominantly in the violins during the tutti sections, with the lower instruments accompanying.
- Question and answer sections between the soloist and orchestra.
Movement I: Allegro maestoso
The concerto begins with a long orchestral introduction - this was common in concertos from the Classical period.
Listen out for the lip trills!
There is a cadenza towards the end of the movement, which ends with a trill - another feature of Classical concertos.
Movement II: Romance: Andante cantabile
This movement opens with a slow, legato horn melody with accompanying strings. This is followed by the strings repeating the same melody.
Movement III: Rondo: Allegro vivace
The opening theme of this movement is extremely famous - you might recognize it!
This movement has a much lighter character than the other movements. Listen out for arpeggios in the horn - these fit well on the natural horn as they use the natural harmonic series.
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART 1756 – 1791
Prolific Austrian composer from the Classical era - he wrote over 600 works.
Mozart's compositions include a range of genres: operas, masses, arias, ballet music, symphonies, concertos, sonatas and chamber works.
Mozart's father, Leopold Mozart, was a composer, teacher and violinist.
The Mozart family travelled from 1762 to 1773 around Europe, including England, giving concerts to royal families and gaining recognition.
In 1773 Mozart was employed as a court musician for the ruler of Salzburg. Musicians and composers in the eighteenth century were often employed by patrons, for example Haydn.
Mozart later moved to Vienna, where he remained for the rest of his life.
Although Mozart was famous as a pianist and composer, he was never rich - fame didn't always bring in money in Mozart's day!
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