Horn Concerto K. 495

All three of Mozart’s completed horn concertos are in the E-flat major key (K 417, K 447 and K 495) and were composed in Vienna between 1783 and 1787. Also, all of these works were inspired by the composer’s close friend, the widely acclaimed horn player Joseph Leutgeb (1732–1811) who performed extensively around Europe. He must certainly have been an outstandingly skilful player, given that Mozart’s horn concerti brim with chromatic notes and trills, playing which on the natural horns of the period required great dexterity. The K 495 is Mozart’s last horn concerto, composed in 1786, the year of The Marriage of Figaro. Its clearly articulated opening movement is characterised by an abundance of themes and motifs. Very possibly in connection with the slow “Romanza” movement, a contemporary critic once described Leutgeb as a “superior talent with the ability to sing […] as perfectly as the most mellow, interesting and accurate voice”. The rondo-finale in six-eight time is typical hunting music with a virtuoso horn solo full of brisk repeated notes.