Mozart Piano Concerto no. 3 in D, K40

performed by either Ashkenazy/Philharmonia, or below by Perahia/English Chamber Ochestra

Number three. The year is (still) 1767, and our little composer is still eleven years old. Everything is the same, except we get trumpets in addition to keyboard, strings, horns and oboes.
Again, three movements, but none of which based on Raupach. Wikipedia says:

The first movement is based on the initial movement of Honauer’s Op. 2, No. 1. The second on one by Johann Gottfried Eckard (op. 1, no. 4 ), the most famous keyboardist of his day. The third movement is based on C. P. E. Bach‘s piece La Boehmer, published in the early 1760s. Mozart’s cadenzas for the concerto survive.

I still found nothing for Honauer or Eckard (granted, I didn’t try very hard), but C.P.E Bach seemed more promising. Alas, the only recording (performance?) of the piece referenced above is this fine specimen, but it’s better than nothing. Barely. Maybe.
In any case, these are the three movements of the symphony, around the same length as yesterday’s, at about 14 minutes.
The opening movement has the same brightness and excitement as the first concerto, but it’s definitely more… unique. It does more things and goes more places, but not by much. It still feels like a more substantial work, though. One realizes in listening to these pieces how satisfying and fulfilling some good key changes and new material can be for the quality or depth of a movement. There’s more tension and excitement.
The second movement is the longest of the three, and quite nice. It feels more thorough, as if, just maybe, if we could compare his treatment of his source material in the first concerto against this one, that just maybe he’d taken more artistic liberties with it, done more interesting things, stretched it farther. Maybe?
The third movement takes from a composer who everyone is more likely to have heard, and it is refreshingly…. something more enjoyable to listen to somehow. It feels fuller, somehow more mature. It’s probably my favorite movement from all of the concertos so far. Perhaps this is due to more interesting source material, but the whole thing feels more inspired.
Again, terms like ‘inspired,’ ‘thorough,’ ‘interesting,’ or ‘substantial,’ are all to be taken with a grain of salt when you remember that we’re talking about the third piano concerto written in the same year by an eleven-year-old who used other people’s themes as the basis for these works. It’s no wonder these aren’t terribly enduring, commonly seen pieces, but they have something interesting to them. Not many other eleven-year-olds would be able to pull that off, and at least Perahia and Ashkenazy (and many others) have seen them fit to record, even though Daddy Mozart didn’t include them among a list of his son’s works the following year.
There’s nothing, at least to me, especially memorable or exciting about these works, except for general niceness of a movement here and there, like the third movement of today’s piece. But I still do feel like they’re become more interesting. We will see with the next two concertos. See you then.


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