Accompanied by the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra, the Austrian pianist and conductor Stefan Vladar performs Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466. Conductor: Hartmut Haenchen. Recorded at the Konzerthaus Berlin in 2005.

Pianist Stefan Vladar and the Kammerorchester Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach under the baton of Hartmut Haenchen performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466 at the Konzerthaus Berlin in 2005.

Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20

Mozart wrote this concerto in 1785. The first performance took place at the Mehlgrube Casino in Vienna on February 11, 1785, with Mozart himself as the soloist. It is considered Mozart’s first symphonic concert and is an era-defining masterpiece.

It is only one of two piano concertos written by Mozart in a minor key (with No. 24 in C minor being the other), and the most overtly dark, dramatic, and impassioned.

The concerto is scored for solo piano, flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, and strings. As is typical with concertos, it is in three movements:

  1. Allegro: The orchestra begins the theme, and then the theme is taken up by the piano soloist and developed throughout the long movement. A slightly brighter mood exists in the second theme of F major (the relative major), but it never becomes jubilant. The timpani further heightens the tension in the coda before the cadenza. The movement ends on a quiet note.
  2. Romanze (a five-part rondo -ABACA- with a coda): The Romanze second movement, in D minor’s submediant key, B♭ major, is a five-part rondo (ABACA) with a coda. The trumpets and timpani are not used in this movement. The beginning features a solo piano playing the flamboyant and charming main B♭ major melody without accompaniment. This lyrical, passionate, tender, and romantic melody paints a picture of peace and a sense of harmony between the piano and the orchestra and has also inspired its title ‘Romanze’. Halfway through, the piece moves on to the second episode (part C), where instead of the beautiful melody, a storm sets in. The new stormy material is a turbulent, agitated, and ominous theme, in the relative key of G minor, which greatly contrasts the peaceful mood at the starting of the movement. Though the storm section begins abruptly and without transition, after a transition back to the tonic key of B♭ major, finally, we are greeted once again with the aforeheard melody which returns as the movement is nearing the end. The piece ends with an ascending arpeggio that is light and delicate, gradually until it becomes a faint whisper.
  3. Allegro assai (a rondo): The final movement, a rondo, begins with the solo piano rippling upward in the home key before the full orchestra replies with a furious section. (This piano “rippling” is known as the Mannheim Rocket and is a string of eighth notes (D-F-A-D-F) followed by a quarter note (A). A second melody is touched upon by the piano where the mood is still dark but strangely restless. A contrasting cheerful melody in F major ushers in not soon after, introduced by the orchestra before the solo piano rounds off the lively theme. A series of sharp piano chords snaps the bright melody and then begin passages in D minor on solo piano again, taken up by the full orchestra. Several modulations of the second theme (in A minor and G minor) follow. Thereafter follows the same format as above, with a momentary pause for introducing the customary cadenza. After the cadenza, the mood clears considerably and the piece is now fully sunny in character, as we are now in the parallel key of D major, and the bright happy melody is taken up, this time by the oboes and then winds. The solo piano repeats the theme before a full orchestral passage develops the passage, thereby rounding up the concerto with a jubilant finish.

Stefan Vladar

Born in Vienna, Stefan Vladar is one of Austria’s most remarkable musical personalities. He performs regularly as a conductor and pianist in music centers throughout Europe, America, and Asia.

He was a student of Hans Petermandl at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. In 1985 he won the 1st prize in the prestigious International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna.

Since then, he has performed under the baton of conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Vladimir Fedosejev, Christopher Hogwood, Louis Langrée, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Simon Rattle, and Christian Thielemann in appearances with numerous orchestras such as Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Bayerische Staatsorchester, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, and the Tonhalle-Orchestra Zurich.

Stefan Vladar performs Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20
Accompanied by the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra, the Austrian pianist and conductor Stefan Vladar performs Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466. Conductor: Hartmut Haenchen. Recorded at the Konzerthaus Berlin in 2005.

As a conductor, he has worked with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Residence Orchestra Den Haag, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Tschaikowsky Symphony Orchestra Moscow, Stuttgart Philharmonic, RSO Budapest, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra as well as the chamber orchestras of Basel, Cologne, Prague, and Zurich, among others.

He has performed together with soloists such as Tzimon Barto, Janine Jansen, Isabelle van Keulen, Viktoria Mullova, Julian Rachlin, Heinrich Schiff and with singers such as Ian Bostridge, Johan Botha, Jonas Kaufmann, Angelika Kirchschlager, Thomas Quasthoff, Ramon Vargas and Pretty Yende. Stefan has a close long-term musical cooperation with the baritone Bo Skovhus.

Stefan Vladar has been guest artist of the Salzburg Festival, Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, Musikfest Bremen, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele, Rheingau Music Festival, Piano Festival Ruhr, Schwetzing SWR Festival and the festivals of Aix-en-Provence, Bergen, Bogotá, Edinburgh, Gstaad, Hongkong, Osaka as well as the Opéra Bastille Paris and the Musikverein Vienna. He was “Artist in residence” of the Bodenseefestival and the Duisburg Philharmonic.

Sources

M. Özgür Nevres

Published by M. Özgür Nevres

I am Özgür Nevres, a software engineer, an ex-road racing cyclist, and also an amateur musician. I opened andantemoderato.com to share my favorite music. I also take care of stray cats & dogs. Please consider supporting me on Patreon.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.