Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the most famous composer of the classical era. He was also one of the most prolific one with more than 600 works composed and his influence on music is profound. Joseph Haydn wrote about him: « Posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years ». In a serie of two articles, Metronaut Team has selected for you 10 of Mozart’s must-know pieces.
Violin Concerto No.3 in G major K.216
Composed by Mozart when he was only 19, it was called « Concerto de Straßburg » by Mozart himself because of a popular melody called « Strasbourg » in the finale. The main theme is a bright and happy discussion between the solo violin and the accompaniment.
The Magic Flute, K.620 – Queen of the Night’s aria
The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte in German) is an opera in two acts written by Mozart for a suburban theatre in Vienna. The opera is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that includes both singing and spoken dialogue. The work was premiered on September, 30th 1791, two months before the composer’s death. One of the most famous aria of the opera (and of all opera arias in fact) is « Der Hölle Rache » in Act 2, sung by the Queen of the Night, known as a memorable, fast paced and menacingly grandiose aria. It is also renowned as a demanding piece: the vocal range covers two octaves and requires very high tessitura.
Flute Concerto No.2 in D major, K.314
During many years, scholars believed Mozart’s Flute Concerto No.2 was composed for the flute. In 1952, a musicologist demonstrated that Mozart just reworked his only Oboe Concerto for Flute. In the end, the flautist Ferdinand DeJean, who commissioned Mozart, did not pay him for this concerto for this exact reason.
Clarinet Quintet, K.581
This Quintet was written by Mozart in 1791 for the outstanding clarinetist Anton Stadler, that’s why it’s sometimes called the Stadler Quintet. It is Mozart’s only completed clarinet quintet and is also one of the earliest and best-known works written for this instrument.The Quintet is scored for clarinet, two violins, viola and cello, and is divided in four movements.
Symphony No.40 in G minor, K.550
Probably Mozart’s most famous Symphony, sometimes referred to as the « Great G minor symphony » to distinguish it from the « Little G minor symphony » (which is symphony No.25 in G minor). Writers on Mozart have often suggested that he never heard his 40th Symphony performed, and some also said that he wrote this symphony without even intending it to be performed. But the fact that Mozart revised it, adding the clarinet parts, tends to demonstrate that it was indeed performed, sparking Mozart’s desire to rework it. Pianist Charles Rosen has called the symphony « A work of passion, violence and grief ». This symphony is unquestionably one of Mozart’s most admired works and is regularly performed and recorded.