Piano Concerto No. 24 (Mozart)

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The Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491 is a concertante work for piano, or fortepiano, and orchestra by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart composed the concerto in the winter of 1785–1786 and completed the work on 24 March 1786, just three weeks after No. 23. The premiere was on 7 April 1786 at the Burgtheater, Vienna.[1]

The concerto has the following three movements:

  1. Allegro in C minor (3/4 time)
  2. Larghetto in E-flat major (cut time)
  3. Allegretto (Variations) in C minor (cut time)

It is scored for flute, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani and strings. Of the Mozart piano concertos, this one has the most extensive scoring.[2] It is the only one scored for both oboes and clarinets. In addition, it is also the only late Mozart piano concerto in which the soloist plays after the cadenza in the first movement, here adorning an orchestral argument based on the extremely chromatic opening theme of the work with arpeggios, all the way through to the quiet close. It is one of only two minor-key piano concertos (the other being No. 20 in D Minor), and one of only three concertos where the first movement is in 3/4 time (the others being No. 11 and No. 14).

The concerto has long been considered one of Mozart's greatest works. Arthur Hutchings described it as the most "concerted" of all the concertos (i.e. the most integrated).[page needed] Girdlestone has also effectively claimed it as the greatest. Ludwig van Beethoven took particular inspiration for his own music from this concerto.[3] In a conversation with Johann Baptist Cramer, Beethoven reportedly remarked that "[w]e shall never be able to do anything like that."[4]

Jonathan Stock has analysed in detail Mozart's use of woodwind timbre in the instrumentation of the concerto's slow movement.[5] Chris Goertzen has mapped the structure of the slow movement.[6]

The concerto was first published in orchestral parts in c.1800 by Johann André of Offenbach am Main. The manuscript of the concerto resides at the Royal College of Music.[7]


  1. ^ Maunder, Richard (February 1989). "Correspondence: Performing Mozart and Beethoven Concertos". Early Music 17 (1): 139–140. ISSN 0306-1078. JSTOR 3127279. 
  2. ^ Hutchings, A. A Companion to Mozart's Piano Concertos, Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ Kinderman, William (1996). "Reviews of Books: Beethoven Forum, ii (ed. by Christopher Reynolds, with Lewis Lockwood and James Webster)". Music & Letters 77 (1): 124–126. ISSN 0027-4224. JSTOR 732277. 
  4. ^ Kinderman, William. Dramatic Development and Narrative Design in the First Movement of Mozart's Concerto in C Minor, K. 491. In Neal Zaslaw (Ed.), Mozart's Piano Concertos: Text, Context, Interpretation (pp. 285-301). Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. p. 297.
  5. ^ Stock, Jonathan P.J. (May 1997). "Orchestration as Structural Determinant: Mozart's Deployment of Woodwind Timbre in the Slow Movement of the C Minor Piano Concerto K. 491". Music & Letters 78 (3): 210–219. doi:10.1093/ml/78.2.210. ISSN 0027-4224. JSTOR 732277. 
  6. ^ Goertzen, Chris (1991). "Compromises in Orchestration in Mozart's Coronation Concerto". The Musical Quarterly 75 (2): 158–159. doi:10.1093/mq/75.2.148. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  7. ^ F.W.S. (July 1965). "Reviews of Music: Concerto, K. 491". Music & Letters 46 (3): 285–286. ISSN 0027-4224. JSTOR 732277. 


  • Girdlestone, C. M. Mozart's Piano Concertos. Cassell, London.
  • Hutchings, A. A Companion to Mozart's Piano Concertos, Oxford University Press.
  • Mozart, W. A. Piano Concertos Nos. 23-27 in full score. Dover Publications, New York.
  • Tovey, D. F. Essays in musical analysis, volume 3, Concertos. Oxford University Press.

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