Bassoon Concerto (Mozart)
The Bassoon Concerto in B flat major, K. 191/186e, written in 1774 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is the most often performed and studied piece in the entire bassoon repertory. Nearly all professional bassoonists will perform the piece at some stage in their career, and it is probably the most commonly requested piece in orchestral auditions – it is usually requested that the player perform excerpts from the concerto's first two movements in every audition.
Although the autograph score is lost, the exact date of its completion is known: 4 June 1774.
Mozart wrote the bassoon concerto when he was 18 years old, and it was his first concerto for a wind instrument. Although it is believed that it was commissioned by an aristocratic amateur bassoon player Thaddäus Freiherr von Dürnitz, who owned seventy-four works by Mozart, this is a claim that is supported by little evidence. Scholars believe that Mozart wrote perhaps three bassoon concerti, but that only the first has survived.
The piece itself is divided into three movements:
The first movement is written in the common sonata form with an orchestral introduction. The second movement is a slow, Passadina (waxwork-like structure) lyrical movement that contains a theme which was later featured in the Countess's aria "Porgi, Amor" at the beginning of the second act of Mozart's opera Le nozze di Figaro. The final movement is in rondo form and was probably intended to be reminiscent of a dance of the time.
1st movement. Performed by Arthur Grossman, bassoon, with the 7th Army Symphony Orchestra (1957)
Performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra. Courtesy of Musopen
2nd movement. Performed by Arthur Grossman with the 7th Army Symphony Orchestra (1957)
3rd movement. Performed by Arthur Grossman with the 7th Army Symphony Orchestra (1957)
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- Eisen, Cliff: 'Concerto', Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 6 August 2006), <http://www.grovemusic.com.turing.library.northwestern.edu>
- Sleeve note of the Supraphon CD (SU 3678-2 001)
- Mozart, W. A.; Giegling, Franz (foreword) (2003). Konzert in B für Fagott und Orchester. Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verlag. p. VII. ISMN M-006-45809-7
- Waterhouse, William: 'Bassoon', Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 6 August 2006), <http://www.grovemusic.com.turing.library.northwestern.edu>
- Konzert in B für Fagott und Orchester KV 191 (186e): Score and critical report (German) in the Neue Mozart-Ausgabe
- Bassoon Concerto: Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project