Mozart’s piano concertos stand alongside his operas and symphonies as his most frequently performed and best loved music. They have attracted the attention of generations of musicologists who have explored their manifold meanings from a variety of viewpoints. In this study, John Irving brings together the various strands of scholarship surrounding Mozart’s concertos including analytical approaches, aspects of performance practice and issues of compositional genesis based on investigation of manuscript and early printed editions. Treating the concertos collectively as a repertoire, rather than as individual works, the first section of the book tackles broad thematic issues such as the role of the piano concerto in Mozart’s quasi-freelance life in late eighteenth-century Vienna, the origin of his concertos in earlier traditions of concerto writing; eighteenth-century theoretical frameworks for the understanding of movement forms, subsequent historical shifts in the perception of the concerto’s form, listening strategies and performance practices. This is followed by a ‘documentary register’ which proceeds through all 23 original works, drawing together information on the source materials. Accounts of the concertos’ compositional genesis, early performance history and reception are also included here, drawing extensively on the Mozart family correspondence and other contemporary reports. Drawing together and synthesizing this wealth of material, Irving provides an invaluable reference source for those already familiar with this repertoire.
Mozart’s Piano Concertos