Monday, October 16, 2017

October 16, 1791: Mozart's Clarinet Concerto premiered

Last updated August 27, 2018.

Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (composer)

Composed: 1791

First Performed: October 16, 1791

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Genre: classical > concerto


  1. Allegro (in A major and in sonata form)
  2. Adagio (in D major and in ternary form)
  3. Rondo: Allegro (in A major and in rondo form)

Average Duration: 28:34


Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto was written for clarinetist Anton Stadler. Work started in 1789 and the piece was completed in October 1791, less than two months before his death. BR It was “his final purely instrumental work.” WK The work was initially intended for basset horn, BR “as Anton Stadler was also a virtuoso basset horn player,” WK but was revised for clarinet. BR

“Until the mid 20th century musicologists did not know that the only version of the concerto written by Mozart’s hand had not been heard since Stadler’s lifetime…Attempts were made to reconstruct the original version, and new basset clarinets have been built for the specific purpose of performing Mozart's concerto and clarinet quintet. There can no longer be any doubt that the concerto was composed for a clarinet with an extended range.” WK Thus “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.” BR

The concerto was premiered by Stadler On October 16, 1791, “at his benefit concert in the Prague Theatre” BR to a generally positive reception. WK “The Berlin Musikalisches Wochenblatt noted in January 1792, ‘Herr Stadeler, a clarinettist from Vienna. A man of great talent and recognised as such at court... His playing is brilliant and bears witness to his assurance.’” WK

It “is notable for its delicate interplay between soloist and orchestra, and for the lack of overly extroverted display on the part of the soloist (no cadenzas are written out in the solo part).” WK “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.” BR

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