Work: Concerto for Clarinet in A major, K 622
About This Work
Of the works which Mozart composed for the outstanding Viennese clarinetist Anton Stadler (1753-1812), the Clarinet Quintet in A, K581, written in 1789, and the present Concerto in A, completed less than two months before the composer's death in
1791, are the crowning achievements. Work on the Concerto was started in 1789. Mozart originally intended the work to be for basset horn, but revised it for clarinet. However, the version widely known today differs from the work Mozart produced for Stadler, since the original version was written for an instrument with an extended bass compass that allowed Stadler to demonstrate his famed ability to play low notes. The transcription for standard clarinet (published ten years after Mozart's death) therefore requires an octave transcription of the notes that cannot be produced on it, which changes the color of the work. The first performance was given by Stadler on 16 October 1791, not in Vienna, but at his benefit concert in the Prague Theatre. It therefore seems certain that the composer never heard the composition that has become one of his best known. Cast in the usual three movements, the gentle, nostalgic lyricism of much of the Clarinet Concerto has drawn such epithets as "valedictory" and "autumnal," an assessment that downplays the extraordinary vigor and verve of this inspired work.
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