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Jeffrey Kahane : conductor & piano

Mozart Piano Concerto No. 8 in C major, K. 246

Orchestration: solo piano; 2 oboes; 2 horns; strings

Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466

Orchestration: solo piano; 1 flute, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons; 2 horns, 2 trumpets; timpani; strings

Mozart Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-flat major, K. 449

Orchestration: solo piano; 2 oboes; 2 horns; strings

Mozart Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat major, K. 595

Orchestration: solo piano; 1 flute, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons; 2 horns; strings

Mozart got more mileage out of the Piano Concerto No. 8 in C major than any of his preceding concertos—as a work for advanced students, all of them amateurs, to perform. It is the least technically demanding of any of his piano concertos, which is not the same thing as saying that it is a snap to play well!

Mozart composed Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor early in 1785, playing the first performance on the day after completing the score, February 10. A few days later, Mozart’s father, Leopold, visiting in Vienna, wrote to his daughter Nannerl about her brother’s recent success:

_ [I heard] a new and excellent piano concerto by Wolfgang, where the copyist was still at work when we arrived, and your brother didn’t even have time to play through the rondo because he had to supervise the copying operation._

As a rare minor-key concerto, it was one of the very few Mozart compositions to be performed with any frequency during the 19th century. It made a powerful impression on Beethoven, who composed two superb cadenzas for it.

The Mozart Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-flat major marks the beginning of that incredible series—numbering a dozen—that Mozart composed between February 1784 and the end of 1786. In no two works of this series does he employ the same structural layout of the movement, and in no two is the relationship between soloist and ensemble exactly the same.

In 1791, when Mozart’s short span of years came to its untimely end, he was remembered in many warm memorial tributes. Yet to the general public his music was often difficult to understand—daring, highly flavored, complex—so that audiences apparently had stopped coming to his “academies.” Thus it was that Mozart introduced his final Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat major, in a concert given by another musician, the popular clarinetist Joseph Beer on March 4, 1791. How it was received is unknown.

In this beautifully autumnal concerto, Mozart avoids the glitter of virtuosity for its own sake, to such an extent that it seems even subdued when compared with some earlier examples. But its expressive qualities are correspondingly richer, and the concerto shares many elements with the other works of his last year: a direct simplicity of melody, an interest in harmonic exploration, and a universality that transcends the passions of the past and enters into a newly tranquil world.

About the Ticket Supplier: Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

The members of LACO are among the very best musicians in Los Angeles. Most play in film studios, teach and/or perform as soloists with orchestras and chamber ensembles all over the world.