Concerto for Clarino and Orchestra
Concerto for Clarino and Orchestra (1762)
(b. Augsburg, Germany, 14 November 1719 – d. Salzburg, Austria, 28 May 1787)
II. Allegro moderato
Leopold Mozart, father of Wolfgang Amadeus, served as a teacher, composer, and professional musician in the court of the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg beginning in 1743. Before the birth of his prodigious son, Leopold produced well over one hundred compositions including concertos, serenades, and oratorios, as well as various ceremonial and theatrical pieces. Unfortunately, the bulk of his manuscripts are lost and his reputation as a composer rests on a small number of works. In his time, Leopold was perhaps better known for his treatise Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule (1756), which served as an instructional guide for generations of violinists and continues to offer insights into eighteenth-century performance practice. His Concerto für Clarino und Orchester, also known as the Trompetenkonzert in D-Dur, was completed in April 1762 just weeks before an extended sojourn in nearby Vienna. That summer proved to be pivotal for the Mozart family. At the Imperial Court, Wolfgang and his sister “Nannerl” performed for Empress Maria Theresa and her young daughter Maria Antonia, the future queen of France. The Mozarts’ visit garnered significant attention from the Viennese aristocracy and Leopold soon began plans for a “grand tour” through Western Europe. The following summer, the Archbishop granted him an extended leave from his duties as deputy Kapellmeister and the Mozarts embarked on three-year journey with stops in cities as distant as London. Subsequent tours and a growing focus on his son’s career detracted from Leopold’s compositional activities. He completed few works after 1767.
In medieval Europe and during the Renaissance, the clarino in various shapes and sizes was an ancestor of the modern trumpet capable of playing in an especially high range. Usage of the term varied considerably by region, but by the seventeenth century “clarino” (or clairon, clarion, etc.) simply referred to natural trumpet parts written for the instrument’s upper register—extending to C6 and beyond. With its numerous high Ds and a passing E natural (E6) in the first movement, Leopold’s Concerto für Clarino und Orchester is among the more demanding pieces in the repertoire. Accurate intonation is especially challenging on valveless instruments although this has not limited the work’s appeal among trumpet virtuosos. Leopold was an enthusiastic collector of concertos by his Viennese contemporary Georg Christoph Wagenseil, one of which Wolfgang is said to have played for the Empress. Leopold’s recent acquisition of several new scores may well have inspired this piece. The score calls for strings, a pair of horns, harpsichord, and trumpet, and the premiere likely featured as soloist either Johann Andreas Schachtner or Johann Caspar Köstler, both Salzburg court trumpeters. The autograph score is now held at the Bayerische Staatsbibliohek in Munich.
Although a tripartite structure had been standard since the early eighteenth century, the Concerto für Clarino und Orchester has just two movements (Leopold would incorporate both into his Serenade in D later that year). The largo opening, frequently performed faster, begins with a stately introduction by the ensemble that presents the movement’s main thematic content. The principal theme is a rising ornamented scale that develops sequentially and recurs at intervals throughout, recalling Baroque ritornello procedures or suggesting a quasi-sonata form. As conventions for the latter were still developing, the movement’s harmonic stability, lack of significant contrasts, and overall homogeneity are not unusual. Nonetheless, the trumpet’s initial entry may remind listeners of double-exposition structures in later Classical concertos, albeit here at a slower tempo. The movement culminates with a brief cadenza and final statement of the cadential phrase first heard at m. 19.
The allegro moderato presents another example of a truncated sonata form, much like those of Leopold’s contemporaries Georg Matthias Monn and Johann Stamitz. The movement begins with a lively, sequentially ascending theme that is evocative of trumpet calls. After a twenty-eight measure exposition for the ensemble, the soloist presents its own version with expansions that facilitate the expected shift to the dominant A major. A lightly chromatic development begins at m. 151 but lasts just eight measures, fulfilling its duty of modulating back to the tonic. The final forty-five measures recycle material from the exposition, illustrating the flexible ordering of recurring themes in the mid-eighteenth century. As was customary for the period, most performances return to the beginning of the development to repeat the latter half of the movement.
Joseph E. Jones, 2015
For performance material contact Bärenreiter, Kassel. Reprint of a copy from the Musikbibliothek der Münchner Stadtbibliothek, Munich.
Solo Instrument(s) & Orchestra
210 x 297 mm