Piano Concerto No.1

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Concerto No.1 in F major


About this work

Mozart, in his first four concertos, based each movement on a piano sonata composed by someone else. The practice of borrowing, adapting, and arranging pieces from other composers was common in the operas of the day, and scholars believe Leopold Mozart wanted his son to become acquainted with orchestral writing, and, more specifically, with the concerto medium. The concertos were arranged in 1767, when Mozart was eleven years old, following a lengthy stay in Paris. It was during this leg of the tour that Mozart became acquainted with the composers Johann Gottfried Eckard, Johann Schobert, Hermann Friedrich Raupach and Leontzi Honauer, from whose sonatas he then borrowed and arranged movements in the concerto form.

The second movement of the F Major Concerto is the only movement of the four works which has not yet been identified with another composer's work. The first movement is an arrangement of Raupach's Piano Sonata No. 5, and the finale comes from Honauer's Sonata Op. 1 no. 3. The bold opening movement demonstrates an early understanding of orchestral color and instrumentation. The Andante is reminiscent of a royal processional, with a few flippant grace-note gestures adding a hint of personality. The pathos of the contrasting minor section is artfully framed by the sustained strings, a coloristic effect which allows for the soloist to emote unhindered by the accompanying orchestra. The grace-notes return in the spirited rondo of the third movement, providing a unity between movements which demonstrates Mozart's taste-if not in his own compositional decisions, then at least in his choice of whose pieces would sound nice together.