Mozart concertos

October 7, 2019, 6:00 AM · Hello all,
Just a simple question for you today. What is your favourite Mozart concerto (including the concertante and conertone)?
And who is your favourite interpretation of said concerto?
Mine is Zukerman and Perlman with the Sinfonia Concertante

Replies (24)

October 7, 2019, 7:02 AM · My favorite too is the Sinfonia Concertante but pretty much any pair playing it well.

Certainly my favorite thing to play on viola.

October 7, 2019, 7:53 AM · Another vote for the Sinfonia Concertante. I like Josef Suk's first recording with Milan Skampa. Not great sound, but wonderful, stylish playing. Suk also recorded it as on viola, most notably with Iona Brown. Also multi-tracked with himself (sounds very odd).
Among the solo concertos I think my favourite is No 4. Again I think Suk plays it particularly well.
October 7, 2019, 8:03 AM · Another vote for Mozart 4 solo (although I prefer Szeryng's personally).
October 7, 2019, 10:36 AM · Comparing the 5 violin concerti with the Sinfonia Concertante and the Concertone is akin to comparing apples, oranges, and pomegranates. The five violin concerti were basically written in a fit of inspiration in 1775...the Sinfonia Concertante (with its epic C minor Andante) foreshadows Beethoven and is one of Mozart's greatest concerti for any instrument...and the Concertone is essentially a minor work whose existence is barely known and almost never gets programmed.

K. 207 is perfectly enjoyable, and it seems to feature more outward displays of virtuosity than the others.
K. 216's slow movement - a taste of heaven.
Certainly K. 219 is the most successfully structured work (even with its episodic Rondo).

October 7, 2019, 10:56 AM · As a violist, I pretty much have to vote for Sinfonia Concertante. But I also love #5.
October 7, 2019, 11:03 AM · Since I'm performing the Sinfonia Concertante with orchestra this January, it's basically in constant rotation on my Spotify playlists right now. I think I've listened to every recording available on Spotify now. Your recommendations for favorites would be much appreciated. (Perlman/Zukerman is my current favorite.)

My favorite of the Mozarts is Mozart 5 though.

October 7, 2019, 11:04 AM · #6 (not by M)< #1 < #2 < #3 < #4 <<<< #5.

Looks like he got better at it... What a shame there was no #10...

Edited: October 7, 2019, 11:05 AM · #6 (not by M) <<< #1 < #2 < #3 < #4 <<<< #5.

Looks like he got better at it... What a shame there was no #10...

[I don't include the concertante which is really in a different class - a mature work.]

October 7, 2019, 2:16 PM · Hungarian violinist Kristóf Baráti (born 1979) is my current favorite performer of Mozart concertos. As a player, I enjoyed working on #3 and #5 and am having a great time working on #4.
October 7, 2019, 2:56 PM · Sinfonia concertante
A newer excellent version is Lara St. John and her brother with the knights orchestra.
The midori/ Nobuko Imai Verizon is truly excellent.
For more period the carminogola with orchestra Mozart is good but VERY period.
My favorite version is the recent version by the queen of viola herself tabea Zimmermann and the younger Vilde frang at Verbier festival. It is available on Medici tv.
I also enjoy the violin playing in Rachel Barton pines version but Matthew lipmans viola playing has never been to my tastes
These are just a few but some more old school versions are still quite amazing (Heifetz primrose for example)
October 7, 2019, 2:58 PM · Mozart violin concerto 3 or violin concertone in C for 2 violins.
October 7, 2019, 7:00 PM · Sinfonia Concertante for me - Nothing in 1-5 touches that slow movement.
On another tack, Elise, why did you include No 6 and not the Adelaide? Have you something against Aussies?
October 7, 2019, 8:38 PM · No. 5 is my favorite. Boy is it ever hard to play. It's so much harder than No. 3. How hard is the violin part of the Sinfonia Concertante compared to those?
October 7, 2019, 9:43 PM · The Sinfonia Concertante is more difficult, but for an unexpected reason. The Sinfonia Concertante is in E-flat major, which turns out to be an amazingly inconvenient key.

All the fingerings are very strange as a result. Let's put it this way: I can more easily transpose the music half a step into D major, on the fly, and let my fingers just go automatically into the correct pattern, than I can to actually play what's written in E-flat after practice.

It really illustrates how much the occasional casual scale in E-flat major doesn't imprint it into your brain in the same way you learn the violinistic keys. Plus you miss the resonance of the A and E strings. So intonation feels much less stable for me.

For those who don't know, this is so the viola can play in D major, with scordatura up a half step. Thus they get more resonance and the violin's resonance is dampened, and they also get the ease of the being able to use open strings and a more familiar fingering pattern, etc. (Of course, many violists just choose to play it with regular tuning, and thus suffer just like the violinists do.)

October 8, 2019, 9:54 AM · Lydia, that's also partly why the Mendelssohn Octet Op. 20 is hard to play, so I definitely get it. I wonder if anyone has ripped the Concertante score to notation software and transposed it down to D. For amateurs who just want to enjoy playing a duet I don't see the harm. The orchestra I play in is doing the famous Lohengrin overture and it's in a different key -- like a 6th lower than the original.
October 8, 2019, 3:58 PM · If you buy the Henle of the S.C. you get a copy of the viola part in both keys. For a violinist, I'm pretty sure the entire thing is transposable by ear, on the fly. Someone with the proper music transcription software could probably just play a transposition by ear and have the software notate.
Edited: October 8, 2019, 4:07 PM · Lydia - why is only the violin part transposable by ear? Surely violators have ears too... ;)
October 8, 2019, 4:31 PM · The violists don't have to transpose. Their part is written in D major. :-)
October 8, 2019, 7:50 PM · In my Barenreiter edition, I have a viola part in both keys
October 8, 2019, 9:47 PM · Mozart concerto #1 needs to be done more often.
The transposed Viola part for S. Concertante; It is not just to make it easier for the Violist. The Viola is not at an ideal size like the Violin. It's resonances are not on the open G & D strings, but a half step higher, so the flat keys are more effective on the Viola. And, with all gut strings, raising them all another half step does not dangerously increase the pressure on the top plate. We can thank Mozart for improving the stature of the Viola in the string quartets and symphonies.
Edited: October 8, 2019, 10:16 PM · Do you're saying these editions come with only ONE part transposed? If true that's got to be the stupidest crap I've ever heard. So you really tune your viola up half a step? What happens to the perfect pitch folks? Don't they lose their marbles?
October 8, 2019, 10:04 PM · That's reflective of Mozart's original intent. The E-flat major dampens the resonance of the violin, which would naturally be more dominant. Having the viola tuned up a half step with the work written as if it is in D major maximizes its resonance, by contrast, as well as its brightness. It helps equalize the balance between the two soloists.
October 8, 2019, 10:17 PM · Pretty interesting. I looked on Henle where you can peek inside a tiny image of the music and yes the violin part is in three flats and the viola part is in two sharps. No. I want the whole thing to be actually in D major. Summer project maybe.
October 9, 2019, 12:23 AM · It truly is hard to put the Sym. Conc. in the same category as the Concerti. That being said, just today we accompanied (I’m in the first violin section of PhilOrch) two members of the Orch playing the S.C., and it stands out as one of my favs of all Mozart’s works. The second movement is in hallowed ground. Yannick made a remark to that extent just before playing that movement today. It’s up there with the second movement of the Bach Double.


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