Vol 9

Violin Concerto in A Major, by W.A. Mozart, I – Part 2

As we study and master Mozart’s Violin Concerto in A Major, we become aware of his extraordinary gift to music. Students by this stage have learned the Veracini Sonata with all its thrills and trills, encouraged and excited by the expressive possibilities of bouncing and springing bows. Arriving at Volume 9’s Mozart A Major Concerto, however, students enter a new musical world.

New-World

Violin Concerto in A Major, by W.A. Mozart, 1st Movement

This brilliant concerto is played every day by professional violinists and orchestras around the planet, and although there’s not much new technique to acquire, Mozart’s buoyant melodies depend on fluent athleticism to sound right, and need to be played with unforced and unfettered vitality.

Semiquaver Passages

Mozart creates the energetic character of the first movement with passages of rapid semiquavers (16th notes), transparent melody lines ascending and descending in exuberant steps and leaps.

Without overdoing it, use accents on the beat to give clarity, energy and drive to these passages, especially when bringing them up to speed. Concentrating on the rhythmic underlay makes it easier to play at the correct tempo.

Also, in a few situations, the bowing may need rearranging to suit your interpretation. At the end of the first phrase, for example, experiment with the slurs for the run down to G#, as shown below.

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Violin Concerto in A Major, K.219 by W.A. Mozart – Adagio

The Violin Concerto in A Major, K.219, nicknamed The Turkish,  was written by Mozart in 1775, living in Salzburg under the patronage of Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo, already having composed such wonders as his other four violin concertos, five piano concertos, 28 symphonies, and a great host of quartets, piano sonatas and church music, just to name a fraction of his previous works – when he was merely 19 years old!

sunlight-on-the-mountain

Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major is considered by many as the finest of the five and the most adventurous, featuring the “Turkish” melody in the key of A Minor within the 3rd movement, Rondo.

After a lively 39 bar introduction by the orchestra, the tempo falls to Adagio as the solo violin enters alone with a simple A major arpeggio. Looking at my score, I see pencilled in several alternative fingerings for this first measure. Not only had I experimented myself with these opening notes, I’d watched the concerto played many times by other players, taking careful notice of their choices of fingering, reflecting their particular interpretations. More about this later.

Some players preferred a little glissando, flavouring it with a taste of melancholy, and the bolder purpose of an intense vibrato. In any case, to be convincing to the audience, the intent must be clear and of one mind. Although the Adagio is preparing us for the approaching Allegro, it also stands alone as a vision of stillness and beauty like beams of sunlight on a mountainside.

Following the poignant pauses in measure 45, we are off on an ebullient run, fired with energy and cheerfulness. The happy mood continues unabated right through the movement.

The Main Points

High Positions

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