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RMCO Work Detail

Title Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat, K 320d (K 364)
Composer Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
Contributor's Name Howard Goldstein
Bio Movements: Allegro Maestoso / Andante / Presto

Despite Mozart's use of the Italian name, this musical genre, closer to concerto than symphony, was primarily a Parisian invention. Between 1770 and 1830 about 570 symphonies concertantes were written by composers working in or writing for Paris, then the center of European musical life and overflowing with talented instrumentalists. By definition, these were works for two, three, or four soloists that emphasized virtuoso display and pleasing melodies over intellectual musical development. The work for violin and viola that Mozart composed in 1779 is certainly the finest example of the genre. The emphasis is on dialoge and cooperation between the soloists, the orchestra, and even the separate orchestra sections; Mozart instructs the viola soloist to tune one half step higher in order to make the darker instrument sound more brilliant, divides the orchestra violas into two parts paralleling the first and second violins, and assigns important material to the oboes and horns as almost equal partners with the string soloists. The slow movement, in the somber key of C minor, is one of the earliest displays of that dark, elegiac depth of feeling that is uniquely Mozart's; perhaps it was inspired by the death of his mother the previous year. The final rondo is filled with rollicking good humor, however. All movements feature Mozart's own duet cadenzas, minor masterpieces all by themselves.


Work record last updated on 07-19-2004