Accompanied by the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, Maxim Vengerov performs Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in D major K. 211, nicknamed the “Turkish Concerto”. The Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra is conducted by Maxim Vengerov, the soloist himself. Recorded during the BBC Proms 2006.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 2, the “Turkish Concerto”
Mozart composed the work in 1775 when he was just 19 years old. The concerto has the usual fast-slow-fast structure. The movements of the work have the tempo headings:
- Allegro moderato
- Rondeau, Allegro
It is the third movement that gives this concerto its nickname, the “Turkish Concerto.” In the middle of a graceful minuet movement, the music suddenly switches to an Allegro in the minor mode, and the meter changes from 3/4 to 2/4, as the violin and orchestra, take up what is meant to suggest wild Turkish music.
Turkish culture enjoyed a considerable fashion in eighteenth-century Europe with Turkish coffee, Turkish subjects in dramas and paintings, popular stories about Turkey in many operas, and many rulers creating janissary bands for their armies. Those janissary bands included not only loud wind instruments (e.g. fifes and shawms) but also “exotic” percussion (cymbals, triangles, and various drums), effects that many European composers imitated for special effects.
Mozart famously wrote “Turkish” music in parts of his opera The Abduction from the Seraglio and in the well-known Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K. 331 “Alla Turca” which ends one of his piano sonatas.
Here, in this violin concerto, he has no percussion or outdoor wind instruments in the orchestra, but he imitates the effect with strong accents, exotic chromatic scales with sudden crescendos, and a percussive drone of the cellos and basses striking their strings with the stick of the bow (col legno). Following this unruly middle section, the music returns to its graceful minuet.
- Violin Concerto No. 2 (Mozart) on Wikipedia
- “Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219” on the Boston Barıoque website
- Chopin: Nocturne No. 20 [Violin: Caroline Adomeit] - December 4, 2022
- Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in D Major, RV 208 (Grosso Mogul), Augusta McKay Lodge, Voices of Music - December 3, 2022
- Bach: Concerto for 2 Harpsichords & Strings in C Major, BWV 1061 [Katia & Marielle Labèque, Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini] - December 2, 2022