Violin Concerto in A major, K. 219

The Violin Concerto in A major (K219) is the keystone in a five-part magnificent series composed by Mozart (1756–1791) in December 1775, which captures the sum of the then 19-year-old composer’s achievements in developing the genre.

At the time, he was serving as leader of the orchestra of the Prince Primate of Salzburg and was able to première his own work. The first movement (Allegro aperto) begins with a vibrant arpeggio-based orchestral introduction. However, the entry of the soloist comes as a surprise in that it suddenly halts the movement in a six-bar slow passage, only to better highlight the subsequent quick main theme. The delightfully beautiful, lyrical second movement is truly matchless; few of the mature Mozart’s works are quite like it. The orchestral introduction is highly varied, with six materials introduced before the soloist enters; the entire movement is then built on recapitulations of those themes. The theme of the closing movement (Rondeau) is a minuet in ¾ tempo, which returns four more times. The curious-sounding third episode was widely considered to be “Turkish” in character, although for most Hungarians its diminished fourths and folk-style rhythms make it sound Hungarian. The effects of the deep strings – striking the string with the stick of the bow, rather than by drawing the hair of the bow across the strings – are also evocative of Janissary and Hungarian dance music. (László Gombos)