Rondo concertante

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Rondo concertante in Bb major

K261a, K269

About this work

Between the spring of 1773 and the end of 1775, Mozart composed five violin concertos. His only examples of the genre, they were composed in Salzburg. Although Mozart had been concertmaster of the Salzburg court orchestra since mid-1772, it is not known whether he composed them to play himself, although he certainly did in later years. In addition to the concertos, two independent movements also exist form this period, the present work and the Adagio in E, K. 261. While the existence of an autograph score for the latter work dates it from 1776, the Rondo can only be given a conjectural date of 1775-1777. It seems likely that both were intended as replacements for concerto movements, in the instance of the Adagio as the middle movement of the Concerto in A, K. 219, while the Rondo served a similar function as a replacement for the finale of the first of the concertos, K. 207 in B flat. According to Mozart family correspondence, both the Adagio and Rondo were composed for Antonio Brunetti, who was appointed first concertmaster at Salzburg in 1776. A letter of Mozart's father Leopold dated September 1777 refers to "the Adagio and Rondo you composed for Brunetti," a coupling that led to them initially being erroneously published together as a single work. The orchestral accompaniment is scored for two oboes, two optional bassoons, two horns and strings. The Rondo may have been written to replace the original Presto in order that it conform more closely with the composer's later thinking, all four of the concertos that succeeded it having rondo finales. The appealing principal theme is one that obviously stayed in Mozart's mind since he planned to use it in a ballet written in Paris, a project that never came to fruition.