Accompanied by the Cappella Andrea Barca, Hungarian-born British classical pianist and conductor András Schiff performs Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat major, K. 482. Schiff also conducts the orchestra. Recorded during the 2015 Mozart Festival in Salzburg (Mozartwoche Salzburg).

Accompanied by the Cappella Andrea Barca, András Schiff performs Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat major, K. 482. Schiff also conducts the orchestra.

Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat major, K. 482, is a significant work from his oeuvre. Composed in 1785 while he was in Vienna, this period marked a time when Mozart was deeply engaged with public concerts, leading to a surge in his musical output. An intriguing aspect of this concerto is its distinctive instrumentation. Unlike many of Mozart’s other concertos which employed oboes, this one features clarinets, lending a unique sonic color to the composition.

Mozart’s decision to include clarinets instead of the more conventional oboes might have surprised and delighted his contemporary audiences. The concerto itself encapsulates a phase in Mozart’s life when he was delving into more profound emotional content and increasing the complexity of his works. This is evident in the detailed dialogue between the orchestra and the soloist, as well as the lush harmonies that are present throughout the piece.

Having been performed multiple times during Mozart’s own lifetime, it was evident that the concerto resonated with listeners. Over the years, its blend of elegance, innovation, and emotional depth has solidified its place as a beloved piece in the standard classical repertoire.


1. Allegro

The first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat major, K. 482, is marked “Allegro.” This movement, consistent with many of Mozart’s concerto first movements, follows a modified sonata-allegro form. The orchestra begins by introducing the main themes, setting the stage for the soloist’s entrance. In typical Mozartian fashion, there’s more to this introduction than just a presentation; it establishes the tone for the entire movement.

When the piano makes its entry, it mirrors the orchestra’s themes and adds its own unique material, initiating a delightful interplay characteristic of Mozart’s concertos. The movement then progresses to a development section, where themes undergo various transformations, modulations, and creative explorations. This provides an avenue for Mozart to wander through different key areas and further develop the musical motifs.

After this intricate section, a recapitulation follows. Here, the main themes are revisited, but with a twist. The soloist often incorporates ornamental and improvisatory elements, ensuring this section doesn’t feel like a mere repetition. Nearing the movement’s conclusion, the orchestra takes a step back, allowing the soloist a moment in the spotlight with a cadenza (a passage meant to display the performer’s virtuosity and interpretative prowess). Although some cadenzas were pre-composed, in Mozart’s era, it was not uncommon for performers, often the composers themselves, to improvise this section. Once the cadenza concludes, the orchestra rejoins the soloist for a brief yet impactful end to the movement.

With its contrasts, lyrical melodies, and intricate dance between soloist and orchestra, the first movement of K. 482 exemplifies Mozart’s unparalleled ability to marry structure with profound expressiveness. It establishes a sense of grandiosity and emotional depth that permeates the entire concerto.

2. Andante (Variations) in C minor

The second movement is marked “Andante.” This movement stands in contrast to the lively and grand first movement, offering listeners a more introspective and lyrical experience.

The “Andante” unfolds as a theme with variations. The theme, introduced by the orchestra, is simple yet profound, a characteristic example of Mozart’s ability to express deep emotion with seemingly straightforward melodies. As the piano enters, it takes up this theme, offering its own perspective and initiating a series of variations. Each variation showcases a slightly different character, with changes in texture, harmony, and melodic decoration.

One of the most striking features of this movement is Mozart’s rich use of winds, particularly the clarinet. Their timbre blends beautifully with the piano, creating moments of pure chamber music-like dialogue. This emphasis on the winds, along with the intimate character of the movement, results in a unique sonic landscape that sets it apart from many other concerto slow movements of the Classical era.

The structure of a theme with variations gives Mozart ample room to explore diverse moods and intricate pianistic textures. From melancholy to serene, from simple to ornate, the variations weave a tapestry of emotions that both contrast and complement each other.

In essence, the “Andante” of K. 482 is a testament to Mozart’s mastery of creating depth of emotion and musical innovation within a traditionally structured framework. It offers a moment of reflection and poignancy between the more extroverted outer movements of the concerto.

3. Allegro

The finale of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 is marked “Allegro,” but it’s characterized by a playful and vivacious Rondo form. This concluding movement provides a buoyant and jubilant contrast to the introspective “Andante” that precedes it.

A rondo typically involves the frequent return of a catchy and memorable main theme (often referred to as the ‘refrain’), interspersed with contrasting sections or episodes. In this particular movement, Mozart’s main rondo theme is lively and spirited, effectively capturing the listener’s attention right from its initial presentation.

Throughout the movement, the piano engages in delightful dialogues with the orchestra. The contrasting episodes introduced between the recurring rondo theme offer a range of characters and emotions, but they always maintain an underlying sense of joy and lightness. These episodes showcase Mozart’s creativity, allowing him to explore different melodic and rhythmic ideas, as well as various interactions between the soloist and the orchestra.

An interesting feature of this movement is the incorporation of a minuet-like section, giving a brief nod to dance forms and adding an extra layer of charm and sophistication to the overall structure.

The movement, and thus the concerto, culminates in a spirited finale, reinforcing the sense of joy and exuberance. In its entirety, the third movement serves as a brilliant showcase for both the soloist’s virtuosity and Mozart’s genius in crafting engaging, memorable themes and weaving them into a cohesive and delightful musical narrative. It ensures that the concerto concludes on a high note, leaving listeners uplifted and invigorated.


M. Özgür Nevres

Published by M. Özgür Nevres

I am Özgür Nevres, a software engineer, a former road racing cyclist, and also an amateur musician. I opened to share my favorite music. I also take care of stray cats & dogs. This website's all income goes directly to our furry friends. Please consider supporting me on Patreon, so I can help more animals!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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