Accompanied by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Oxana Shevchenko performs Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major, K. 537, commonly known as the “Coronation Concerto”. Conductor: Benjamin Northey. This performance was recorded during the final round of the 2016 Sydney International Piano Competition on July 20.

Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major, K. 537, also known as the “Coronation” Concerto, stands as a remarkable piece in the classical music repertoire, reflecting the composer’s masterful command over the concerto form. Composed in 1788, this work was created during a period of Mozart’s life marked by financial difficulties and personal challenges, yet it showcases his ability to produce music of extraordinary beauty and elegance.

The concerto earned its nickname, “Coronation,” not from Mozart himself but from its association with the coronation of Leopold II as Holy Roman Emperor in 1790. Mozart was thought to have performed this concerto himself at the coronation festivities, though recent scholarship suggests this might not be entirely accurate. Regardless of its actual connection to the event, the nickname has endured, highlighting the work’s majestic and celebratory qualities.

Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26 is noted for its lyrical melodies and sophisticated interplay between the solo piano and the orchestra. It embodies the classical ideals of balance, clarity, and proportion, while also allowing for displays of virtuosity from the soloist. The orchestration is bright and clear, with Mozart employing a typical classical orchestra setup that allows the piano to shine through with radiant themes and expressive cadenzas.

The concerto is also remarkable for its innovative approach to the concerto form. Mozart had a unique ability to blend the solo piano part intricately with the orchestra, creating a dialogue that was ahead of its time. This was part of his broader contribution to evolving the piano concerto genre, pushing the boundaries of musical expression within the classical framework.

Despite its place in the coronation ceremonies, the “Coronation” Concerto is imbued with a personal touch, reflecting Mozart’s own voice and artistic vision. It is both a product of its time and a timeless testament to Mozart’s genius, continuing to captivate audiences and performers alike with its beauty and brilliance. As with many of Mozart’s concertos, it provides insight into his prowess as a pianist and composer, offering a glimpse into the depth of his musical imagination.


With start times in the video:

  1. Allegro – 0:37
  2. Larghetto – 15:00
  3. Allegretto – 20:44

1. Allegro

The first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major, K. 537, known as the “Coronation” Concerto, is marked as “Allegro” and is set in sonata-allegro form, a common structure for the time that Mozart frequently employed in his concerti. This form typically includes an exposition, a development, and a recapitulation, offering a clear and dynamic framework for musical ideas to be introduced, explored, and reaffirmed.

The movement opens with a bright and majestic orchestral introduction, establishing the D major tonality and presenting the thematic material that will be crucial throughout the movement. The themes introduced are characterized by their lyrical elegance and regal bearing, aptly reflecting the concerto’s nickname and suggesting a ceremonial grandeur. After the orchestra lays the groundwork, the piano enters, echoing the themes presented by the orchestra but also introducing new material and demonstrating the soloist’s virtuosity through elaborate passages and embellishments.

A distinctive feature of this movement is the dialogue between the piano and the orchestra, illustrating Mozart’s skill in weaving together the solo and ensemble parts. The piano not only complements the orchestral themes but also engages in a conversation with the orchestra, sometimes leading and at other times following. This interplay highlights the concerto’s collaborative nature, a hallmark of Mozart’s concerto writing.

The development section explores new keys and develops the thematic material further, showcasing Mozart’s compositional ingenuity and his ability to create tension and drama within the classical form. The recapitulation brings back the main themes in the home key, offering resolution and closure while allowing the soloist further opportunities for display.

2. Larghetto

The second movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major, K. 537, dubbed the “Coronation” Concerto, is a lyrical and expressive Andante. This movement showcases Mozart’s ability to craft deeply emotional music within the classical idiom, providing a stark contrast to the majestic and celebratory mood of the first movement.

Characterized by its serene and introspective quality, the Andante opens with a gentle orchestral introduction that sets a tranquil and somewhat contemplative mood. The piano soon enters, weaving melodies that are at once simple and profoundly expressive. The interplay between the solo piano and the orchestra is more subdued here than in the first movement, with the piano often taking a leading role in developing the melodic material, while the orchestra supports and embellishes the soloist’s lines.

The movement is structured to allow for moments of quiet reflection as well as more expressive outbursts, demonstrating Mozart’s skill in dynamic contrast and emotional depth. The thematic material is developed with elegance and sensitivity, with the solo piano passages highlighting the instrument’s lyrical capabilities.

One of the hallmarks of this movement is its beauty in simplicity. Mozart does not rely on virtuosic display or complex harmonic progressions to convey emotion. Instead, the power of the Andante lies in its straightforward melodic lines and the purity of its musical expression. This approach results in a movement that is both intimate and universally appealing, inviting listeners into a moment of peaceful contemplation.

3. Allegretto

The third movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major, K. 537, known as the “Coronation” Concerto, is marked as “Allegretto.” This final movement brings the concerto to a lively and joyful conclusion, showcasing Mozart’s ability to blend elegance with spirited musical conversation. The movement is structured in the rondo form, a popular choice for final movements in the classical concerto genre, characterized by a recurring principal theme (the “refrain”) that alternates with contrasting episodes.

The Allegretto opens with the orchestra introducing the main rondo theme, a cheerful and catchy melody that sets a festive tone. The piano soon enters, echoing the theme and adding its own embellishments and flourishes. The interplay between the solo piano and the orchestra is playful and dynamic, with the piano often taking the lead in exploring variations on the theme.

As the movement progresses, Mozart introduces contrasting episodes that vary in mood and texture, providing depth and complexity to the musical narrative. These episodes allow for moments of contrast to the predominant jovial character of the rondo theme. The soloist navigates through these contrasting sections with agility and expressiveness, showcasing the piano’s versatility and the performer’s technical prowess.

The recurring rondo theme serves as a unifying element, bringing a sense of cohesiveness to the movement. Each return of the theme is slightly varied, keeping the music fresh and engaging. The orchestra and solo piano work together seamlessly, highlighting Mozart’s skill in orchestrating a balanced and intricate dialogue between the two.

The movement culminates in a spirited coda that revisits the main theme with increased energy and excitement, driving the concerto to a triumphant and satisfying conclusion. The Allegretto exemplifies the classical concerto’s capacity for expressing a range of emotions and characters, from playful and light-hearted to more introspective and complex.

Oxana Shevchenko

Oxana Shevchenko is a highly acclaimed pianist, celebrated for her exceptional talent, emotional depth, and versatility in performance. Her recognition as a pianist of remarkable artistry has led her to be in demand both as a soloist and a chamber musician. Her career was notably highlighted by winning the First Prize at the Scottish International Piano Competition in 2010, an achievement that was soon followed by her debut recording with Delphian Records in 2011, featuring works by composers such as Shostakovich, Mozart, Liszt, and Ravel.

Shevchenko has an impressive list of accolades from prestigious international competitions, including the First Prize at the International Premio Franz Liszt Competition in Italy (2015), the Gold Medal at the Chappel Piano Competition in the UK (2013), and awards from competitions in Sydney, Ferruccio Busoni, and more.

Her early debut as a soloist with the Kazakh State Symphony Orchestra at the age of nine marked the beginning of a flourishing career that has since taken her across the world to perform with leading orchestras and at renowned venues like the Sydney Opera House, Wigmore Hall, and the Lucerne Festival.

Accompanied by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Oxana Shevchenko performs Mozart Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major, K. 537, commonly known as the Coronation Concerto. Conductor: Benjamin Northey.
Accompanied by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Oxana Shevchenko performs Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major, K. 537, commonly known as the “Coronation Concerto” at the 2016 Sydney International Piano Concerto. Conductor: Benjamin Northey.

Oxana’s engagements have seen her work with esteemed conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy and Martyn Brabbins, and her passion for chamber music has led to collaborations with notable artists and ensembles, including the Kopelman Quartet and Ray Chen. Her achievements in chamber music competitions, alongside violinist Jana Ozolina and cellist Christoph Croisé, further underscore her versatility and skill as a musician.

Her educational background is equally distinguished, having studied under prominent teachers at prestigious institutions such as the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the Royal College of Music in London. Oxana Shevchenko’s career, marked by her technical proficiency, expressive playing, and the wide recognition she has received, stands as a testament to her position as one of the leading pianists of her generation.


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!

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