Horn Concerto No. 4 (Mozart)

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 4 in E-flat major, K. 495 was completed in 1786.


The work is in 3 movements:

  • I. Allegro maestoso
  • II. Romance (Andante cantabile)
  • III. Rondo (Allegro vivace) 6/8[1]

The manuscript, written in red, green, blue, and black ink, was formerly considered as a jocular attempt to rattle the intended performer, Mozart's friend Joseph Leutgeb. However, recently it was suggested that the multicolored score may be also a kind of "color code".[2]

The last movement is a "quite obvious" example of the hunt topic, "in which the intervallic construction, featuring prominent tonic and dominant triads in the main melody, was to some degree dictated by the capability of the horn, and so was more closely allied with the original 'pure' characteristics of the 'chasse' as an open-air hunting call."[3]

This concerto is one of Mozart's two horn concerti to have ripieno horns (horns included in the orchestra besides the soloist), though, in contrast to K. 417, the solo horn in this one duplicates the first ripieno horn's part in the tutti passages.[4]

Notable discography[edit]

Given its duration (no more than 20 minutes), it is quite common to find this Horn Concerto with Mozart's other three. The foremost example is Dennis Brain's November, 1953 recording of the four horn concertos on EMI with The Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Herbert von Karajan. Another notable recording is with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Lowell Greer playing the natural horn, and Nicholas McGegan conducting; it was recorded in 1988. Reviews are available at ArkivMusic[5] and WQXR.[6]

In 1963 Flanders and Swann set the Rondo movement to words for their song "Ill Wind" from the album At the Drop of Another Hat.


  1. ^ Jean-Pierre Marty, The Tempo Indications of Mozart. New Haven & London: Yale University Press (1988): 43. "The very absence of sixteenths is also an incentive towards overly fast tempos, and this is why the finales of the Horn Concertos K.386b, 417 and 447 are almost always performed faster than 88/264. Yet, the finale of K.417 ends with a coda marked Più allegro, and the finale of the fourth horn concerto (K.495), though very similar in style to the other three, is marked Allegro vivace."
  2. ^ Mozart, W. A.; Wiese, Henrik (preface) (2002). Hornkonzert Nr. 4 Es-dur KV 495. Klavierauszug (Piano Reduction). München: G. Henle Verlag. pp. III.  ISMN M-2018-0704-1
  3. ^ John Irving, Mozart, the "Haydn" quartets. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1998): 95, note 20. "Once defined, however, such 'chasse' characteristics could survive transplantation to other instruments and genres," such as the String Quartet in B-flat, K. 458.
  4. ^ Leavis R (1953). "Mozart's Last Horn Concerto". Music & Letters 34 (4): 316. doi:10.1093/ml/xxxiv.4.315. 
  5. ^ "Mozart: Horn Concertos / Greer, Mcgegan, Philharmonia Baroque". http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/main.jsp. ArkivMusic. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  6. ^ WQXR. "The 20 Essential Mozart Recordings". http://www.wqxr.org/. New York Public Radio. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 

External links[edit]