Mozart's piano concertos stand alongside his operas and symphonies as his most frequently performed and best loved music. They have attracted the attention of generations of musicologists who have explored their manifold meanings from a variety of viewpoints. In this study, John Irving brings together the various strands of scholarship surrounding Mozart's concertos including analytical approaches, aspects of performance practice and issues of compositional genesis based on investigation of manuscript and early printed editions. Treating the concertos collectively as a repertoire, rather than as individual works, the first section of the book tackles broad thematic issues such as the role of the piano concerto in Mozart's quasi-freelance life in late eighteenth-century Vienna, the origin of his concertos in earlier traditions of concerto writing; eighteenth-century theoretical frameworks for the understanding of movement forms, subsequent historical shifts in the perception of the concerto's form, listening strategies and performance practices. This is followed by a 'documentary register' which proceeds through all 23 original works, drawing together information on the source materials. Accounts of the concertos' compositional genesis, early performance history and reception are also included here, drawing extensively on the Mozart family correspondence and other contemporary reports. Drawing together and synthesizing this wealth of material, Irving provides an invaluable reference source for those already familiar with this repertoire.
'… its good-sense and clarity plus the vast increase in our knowledge since the last comparable survey makes this an essential companion for players, students and listeners of this amazing body of music.' Early Music Review '… the literature on Mozart's piano concertos is rich, vast and complex. The author's goal was to produce an "accessible, up-to-date handbook" for students, pianists, and listeners, and the outcome is very successful… it may be the "handiest" book on Mozart concertos yet to appear… An excellent treatment of an important repertoire, the book includes elaborate footnotes and an excellent bibliography… Highly recommended.' Choice 'This strikes me as a most thorough and recommendably detailed study by an author already deeply and authoritatively and lovingly immersed in his subject… Recommended for academics, and as a handbook for practising musicians.' Musicweb 'If it's information you want about Mozart's piano concertos, this is the book to have… packed with facts… an up-to-date and generally accurate survey of the current state of knowledge and thinking about this corpus of music, which is so rich, so wide in its expressive range, and (dare I say?) so beautiful: and isn't it that that makes it worth writing and reading about.' Gramophone
Contents: Preface; Contexts: Form, Reception and Performance: Henrich Koch and the classical concerto; Origins of Mozart's piano concertos; Movement forms I: first movements; Movement forms II: slow movements; Movement forms III: finales; The listener's perspective; Performance considerations; Mozart's Piano Concertos: A Register; Bibliography; Index.