Piano Concerto No.5

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Concerto No.5 in D major


About this work

Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 5 in D major, K. 175, dates from December 1773; it was almost certainly written for the composer himself, then aged 18, to perform. By the standards of its day, and certainly with regard to Mozart's previous keyboard concertos (which were basically transcriptions and arrangements of works by other composers), the work must be regarded as groundbreakingly original and exceptionally brilliant -- indeed, entirely without equal at the time. The key is a festive D major, and a particular grandeur and spaciousness is underscored by the use of trumpets and drums in the orchestration. The young virtuoso matched this mood with a solo part of a new brilliance and technical level of challenge.

The opening movement, marked Allegro, is characterized by a constant sense of forward motion, perhaps tending toward a somewhat feverish intensity remarkable enough in a work of this early period. There is the usual opportunity for a cadenza towards the close of this sonata-form movement. It is followed by a restful Andante in G, whose Italian title is also qualified by the additional instruction "ma un poco Adagio," suggesting a somewhat more measured tempo. The concerto ends with a brilliant Allegro in opera buffa mode, in which Mozart already gives notice of his skills as a contrapuntist. It is known that the composer remained especially fond of K. 175, and included it in his Vienna concerts on several occasions during the early 1780s. Mozart also reworked some of the orchestration in preparation for the concerto's publication around 1785, and furnished a new finale (the Rondo, K. 382).