Mozart Momentum 1785 is the first of two releases on which pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra are exploring the remarkable years of 1785/86 in W.A. Mozart's life. It includes piano concertos Nos 20-22, the Piano Quartet in G minor, Masonic Funeral Music and Fantasia in C minor for solo piano.
In 1781, aged 25, Mozart made the bold move of going freelance, “Vienna is piano land!” he exclaimed in a letter to his father, Leopold, in an attempt to argue his case for resigning from the employment of the Archbishop of Salzburg. With both public and private concerts taking place on a daily basis, Vienna was the place to be for an ambitious young composer and performer, and Mozart was quick to realize the opportunities on offer. Within a couple of years he had established himself as one of the most famous musicians in Vienna but by1785 he had competition on his doorstep.
Mozart wrote a series of masterpiecesand revolutionized the nature of the piano concerto. The five piano concertos, no.20-24, are game-changers in the history of the form. Mozart began to re-examine the roles of the soloist and orchestra and created a dialogue between the two entities in a way that had not been heard before. “It changes completely with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 20 [in D minor K466],” says Andsnes.