Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Adagio in E major


About this work

Mozart's works for violin and orchestra were largely composed in Salzburg between 1773 and 1776. It is not known whether they were written for Mozart, a fine violinist himself, or a member of the Salzburg court orchestra. The oft-repeated assertion that they were composed for the Italian violinist Antonio Brunetti, the leader of the Salzburg orchestra, has been challenged on the grounds that Brunetti was not appointed leader until 1776, the year following the completion of the concertos. However, Brunetti is known to have performed them after taking the post, and the present Adagio is almost certainly that referred to by Leopold Mozart in a letter to his son as "the Adagio you wrote specially for Brunetti." Key relationships make it likely that the movement was intended as a substitute for the slow middle movement of the Violin Concerto No. 5 in A, K. 219, which according to Leopold had been found "too artificial" by Brunetti. Dating from 1776, the serenity of the movement is enhanced by orchestral accompaniment scored for muted strings, with a pair of flutes replacing the oboes employed in the outer movements.