Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488

    Description by Roger Dettmer

    Mozart completed this work on March 2, 1786, and most likely played the first performance a few days later in Vienna. For the coronation, in 1781, of Austrian Emperor Joseph II and attendant celebrations, Prince-Archbishop Hieronymous Colloredo of Salzburg moved his entire court to Vienna. He summoned his most famous musical employee, the younger Mozart, who'd been savoring the success of Idomeneo in Munich, an opera specially commissioned by the Elector of Bavaria. The reluctant Wolfgang Amadé, by then thoroughly detesting his pfennig-pinching employer, arrived in the Hapsburg capital on March 16. By June 8, he had managed to get dismissed from Colloredo's service (with a boot in the backside), leaving him free to conquer Vienna, which he did with the new Emperor's erratic help. For the next four years, he reigned as Vienna's favorite composer of instrumental music. While he rode the crest, his music was both anticipated and appreciated. In response to public demand between 1782 and 1786, he wrote 14 glorious piano concertos -- Nos. 11 through 24 -- most of them for his own use. No. 23 was intended for the Lenten series of 1786, along with Nos. 22 and 24, the last ones before Figaro. While the dates of these concerts have been lost, we know that the A major was an immediate success, and has remained popular ever since, as much for wistfulness as for melodies verging on sublimity. In the company of a flute, two bassoons, two horns, and strings, a pair of clarinets lend the music a moody character.

    The Allegro first movement, with double exposition, goes by the rules of structure for the most part, although there is an incursion of drama in the development section (Cuthbert Girdlestone wrote that "Mozart's daimon...suddenly surges up from the depth") plus a through-written cadenza, rare in his mature concertos.

    Rather than an Andante, the slow movement is the only Adagio in all of Mozart's concertos, with melancholy taking center stage that heretofore had hovered in the wings. Startlingly and somberly the key is F sharp minor (A major's harmonic alter-ego), not really leavened by a sweet subject in A major for flute and clarinet that forms the middle part of an ABA structure, despite elements of sonata form.

    After two introverted movements, the second one confined to a sickroom, the rondo-finale rallies ebulliently -- an Allegro assai among the most buoyant in Mozart's concerto canon, with key-changes and even high comedy that find the patient recovered and happy, as are all of us are who have been worried till now about his health.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro
    2. Adagio
    3. Allegro assai

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 ABC Classics 4812870
    2016 Sony Classical / Sony Music Distribution 88875173752
    2016 Praga / Praga Digitals PRD 250326
    2016 Warner Classics 554165
    2016 Warner Classics 0190295974923
    2016 Decca / Philips 4788977
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4794370
    2015 MDG / MDG Gold MDG 3401900
    2015 K-Tel 136147
    2015 Doron Music DRC 3072
    2015 Hi. Q / Hi-Q Records 44
    2015 ICA Classics ICAC 5135
    2015 BR Klassik 900906
    2015 Decca 002369302
    2014 Sony Classical 88843047122
    2014 Telarc TEL 3534202
    2014 Telarc
    2014 Telos Music TLS 175
    2014 Warner Classics 2564633625
    2014 Ars Produktion 38167
    2014 Solo Musica SM 189
    2014 Bridge BRIDGE 9408
    2014 Archiv Produktion / Decca / DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2014 Naïve V 5692
    2014 RCA Red Seal 88843006072
    2013 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 Atoll ACD 883
    2013 ABC Classics 4810189
    2013 BIS BIS 1964
    2013 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4785696
    2013 Apex 89091
    2013 AAO Music AAOC 94312
    2013 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PHH 13033
    2013 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2012 Krescendo Records / Zebralution
    2012 Naxos 8501056
    2012 Haenssler / Haenssler Classic HAEN 94216
    2012 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4790913
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099963656
    2012 EMI Classics
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099967871
    2012 Sony Classical 88765409042
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2012 Sony Classical 88691912562
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099962172
    2012 Concerto / Zebralution
    2011 RCA Red Seal 886919369120
    2011 Apex 693272
    2011 Orfeo C 839112B
    2011 Guild GHCD 2367
    2011 ZYX Music CLABOX 005
    2011 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2011 RPO 28430
    2011 Decca 478 269-5
    2011 Decca 4782695
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon / DG Deutsche Grammophon B 001620402
    2011 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon / DG Deutsche Grammophon 4779849
    2011 Haenssler / Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler HAEN 94603
    2011 Piano Classics PLC0008
    2011 Cascavelle VEL 3161
    2011 Erato
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94095
    2011 EtCetera Records KTC1424
    2010 Decca 4782541
    2010 Decca
    2010 Urania / Urania Historical 22403
    2010 Bayerischer Rundfunk / BR Klassik 900709
    2010 EMI Classics 6483382
    2010 Testament 1446
    2010 Decca
    2010 Classical Records 100
    2010 EMI Classics
    2010 Sony Classical 88697757852
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Berlin Classics 0300035
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4778827
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2009 Apex 4693274
    2009 Medici Arts 32-2
    2009 Naïve 5210
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926508
    2009 Sony Classical Essential Classics 743505
    2009 Decca 478 1524DH
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Thorofon / Zebralution
    2009 MDG 940156
    2009 Denon Records
    2008 ZYX Music CLS 1018
    2008 Audite 23407
    2008 Music & Arts 1008
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099920600
    2008 Urania 22363
    2008 Brilliant 93162
    2008 EMI Classics 229232
    2008 Pro Musica Camerata 41519
    2008 Canal Grande 8016
    2008 ZYX Music 10320
    2008 DG Deutsche Grammophon 469482
    2008 Berlin Classics 0184452BC
    2008 Philips 4685402
    2008 Corona Records 0002462CCC
    2008 EMI Classics
    2008 Corona Classic Collection 0002282CCC
    2008 EMI Music Distribution 358142
    2008 Erato 4696869
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93669
    2008 CAvi-music 8553100
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099951203
    2008 Philips 4646602
    2007 Music & Arts 1193
    2007 Philips 4757739
    2007 Philips
    2007 Decca 4758202
    2007 Document 223603
    2007 Archipel 0358
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946381793
    2007 Fundacja Pro Musica Camerata 47
    2007 EMI Classics 87894
    2007 Arte Nova Classics 825760
    2007 Vital 0095
    2007 Vista Vera 87
    2006 BBC Legends / BBC Music 41872
    2006 DG Deutsche Grammophon 689502
    2006 Style Records 76039
    2006 Testament 1401
    2006 Doremi Records 7842-3
    2006 Decca / DG Deutsche Grammophon / Philips / Universal Classics & Jazz
    2006 Channel Productions 10
    2006 Haenssler 93129
    2006 K&K Verlagsanstalt 77
    2006 Universal Classics & Jazz
    2006 Avie 2100
    2006 EMI Classics
    2006 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 53211
    2006 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler 4008
    2006 Artek 24
    2006 Universal
    2006 Virgin Classics
    2006 Virgin 363292
    2006 DG Deutsche Grammophon 2894775214
    2006 Sony Music Distribution 87230
    2006 Brilliant 92865
    2006 Philips 4757306
    2006 Philips
    2006 Arte Nova 640140
    2006 Music & Arts 1179
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99668
    2005 Decca 4756786
    2005 Brilliant 92702
    2005 Naïve 4992
    2005 WEA 256462332-2
    2005 Andromeda 5019
    2005 Brilliant 92541
    2005 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4775808
    2005 Telarc CD 83628
    2005 Supraphon 38092
    2005 Universal Classics & Jazz
    2005 Nonesuch
    2005 Koch 7575
    2005 Philips 4757050
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 EMI Classics 5869822
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 Nonesuch
    2005 Supraphon 36982
    2005 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler 4011
    2005 Warner Classics 61919
    2005 Arte Nova Classics 82876640142
    2005 Decca / DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2005 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4775756
    2005 Brilliant 92540
    2004 NY Philomusica Records 16
    2004 Virgin 62259
    2004 Cascavelle 3067
    2004 Laserlight 27776
    2004 Urania 4225
    2004 EMI Classics 62824
    2004 Virgin 62343
    2004 Elatus 2564611742
    2004 Brilliant 92388
    2004 Vox 3609
    2004 United Audio Entertai 6295
    2004 Delta Distribution 16382
    2003 Delta Distribution 15871
    2003 DG Deutsche Grammophon 000120102
    2003 Decca 000017602
    2003 Decca 000150702
    2003 Golden Melodram 40066
    2003 Gega 233
    2003 Delta Distribution 40039
    2003 Delta Distribution 40024
    2003 Sony Music Distribution 512864
    2003 Brilliant 99720
    2003 EMI Classics
    2003 EMI Classics
    2003 RCA Red Seal / Sony BMG 09026639772
    2003 Warner Classics
    2003 Laserlight / Delta Distribution 40043
    2003 DG Deutsche Grammophon 000098810
    2003 Haenssler 93064
    2002 CBC Records 5220
    2002 BBC Legends / BBC Music 41112
    2002 IDIS 6369
    2002 Pearl 0162
    2002 DG Deutsche Grammophon 471350
    2002 Decca 468491
    2002 DG Deutsche Grammophon 469510
    2002 Maestro Celebre 052179
    2001 Music Digital 40502
    2001 Audite 95466
    2001 Arabesque 6530
    2001 Testament 1222
    2001 Classica d'Oro 3014
    2001 Capriccio Records 51042
    2001 DG Archiv 463111
    2001 Sony Music Distribution 89500
    2001 Rca Red Seal 63019
    2001 Rca Red Seal 63009
    2001 Aura Classics 0139
    2000 Onyx Classix 1917
    2000 Delta Distribution 49385
    2000 Philips 464800
    2000 RCA 77417
    2000 Virgin 61852
    2000 Virgin 61123
    2000 Ecm 449670
    2000 DG Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Distribution 457759
    2000 Hungaroton 12472
    2000 Arcobaleno 9431
    2000 APR (Appian) 5601
    2000 Rca Red Seal 63061
    1999 Music & Arts 632
    1999 Dutton Laboratories 5507
    1999 Aura Classics 0188
    1999 Philips 462232
    1999 Philips 454987
    1999 London 460621
    1999 Haenssler 98142
    1999 L'Oiseau-Lyre 452052
    1999 Nonesuch 79489
    1999 Philips 446230
    1999 Iron Needle 1363
    1999 Haenssler 98351
    1999 RCA Red Seal 63000
    1999 Philips 456811
    1999 Philips 456865
    1998 Pearl 0027
    1998 DG Deutsche Grammophon 459 069-2GCC12
    1998 Philips 456826
    1998 SPJ Music 90001
    1998 Intersound 2843
    1998 DG Deutsche Grammophon 459038
    1998 Supraphon 3076
    1998 Thorofon CTH 2394
    1997 Channel Classics 0194
    1997 Channel Productions 2491
    1997 London 452 888-2DCS
    1997 London 452958
    1997 Eclipse Records 64349
    1997 Hallmark Recordings 350742
    1997 Point Classics 267120
    1997 Point Classics 265093
    1997 London 443727
    1997 Point Classics 2688372
    1996 Music & Arts 922
    1996 Tring 043
    1996 ECM / ECM New Series 21565
    1996 Sony Classical 62601
    1995 Teldec 99207
    1995 Laserlight 871
    1995 Kontrapunkt 32199
    1995 Seraphim UK 568529
    1995 DG Deutsche Grammophon 439699
    1995 RCA 68337
    1995 Philips 446 222-2PB25
    1994 RCA 61859
    1994 Valois 4713
    1994 Capriccio Records 10623
    1994 Philips
    1994 Naxos 506002
    1994 BIS 283
    1994 Naxos 550204
    1994 Sony Classical 57259
    1994 Philips 442269
    1994 Philips
    1993 Philips 438207
    1993 Teldec 92150
    1993 Sony Music Distribution 46441
    1992 London 436383
    1992 Nonesuch 79042
    1992 Philips 434164
    1992 Teldec 75711
    1991 Teldec 72024
    1991 London 425855
    1991 Telarc Distribution 80285
    1991 Chandos 8992
    1991 DG Archiv 431211
    1990 Music & Arts CD-632
    1990 Delta Distribution 15850
    1990 Laserlight 35860
    1990 CBS Records 39064
    1990 DG Deutsche Grammophon 423287
    1990 Philips 422507
    1990 DG Deutsche Grammophon 429001
    1990 Laserlight 15649
    1987 DG Deutsche Grammophon 431279
    1987 Philips 420187
    1985 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4137932
    1984 Teldec 842970
    1983 DG Deutsche Grammophon 410068
    Fidelio 5005
    6w 64
    New York Philharmonic NYP2003
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler 4063
    Mezhdunarodnaya-Kniga 418026
    Unison 8286
    Pierian 0011/0012
    HPC/Dante 121
    EMI Music Distribution 7224529
    Vivace 313
    MusicMasters 67149
    Brilliant 92627
    Manchester 113
    RCA 60989
    Vivace 217
    EXT 3010
    Artists 51
    Pilz 160135
    EXL 4222
    Fidelio 1833
    EMI Music Distribution 4511
    Virgin 59280
    Lyrinx 81
    Supraphon 110271
    Musique d'Or 1057
    Omega Music Poland 1003
    Multisonic 310079
    As Disc 412
    EMI Classics 229224
    As Disc 611
    Decca 452958
    Brilliant 93162/4
    Brilliant 92702/4
    Hallmark Recordings 35074
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 471351
    Supraphon 0001
    Dallas Symphony Orchestra
    London 433086
    CBS/Sony 946-9
    Philips 464719
    Calig 51015
    The Piano Library 318
    Fonit-Cetra Italia 134
    Philips 416271
    Teldec 18956
    Onyx Classics 66502
    Sony Music Distribution 46519
    Angel Records 69822
    DG Archiv 423595
    Hommage 7001857
    RCA 7968
    EMI Music Distribution 83323
    Apex 89091
    London 400087
    Teldec 242743
    Brilliant Classics 99668/2
    Brilliant Classics 93669/8
    Brilliant 99720/3
    Brilliant 92626/3
    Pro-Arte Records 3434
    Brilliant 92388/8
    Brilliant 92541/3
    Amado Classics 01017
    EMI Music Distribution 62825
    Teldec
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics 572930-2
    Supraphon 111935
    Hommage 7001850
    Edition HERA 2200
    History 205220
    Enterprise 938
    Mk 418026
    Eclipse Records 2688372
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 4776607
    Pilz 446411-2