Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major, K. 218

    Description by Blair Johnston

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was still a teenager in the service of the Salzburg court when, in 1775, he composed his Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major, K. 218. Mozart was a violinist of reasonable skill, and each of his five violin concertos seems to have been originally composed for his own use; but when Mozart relinquished his position with the court orchestra and was replaced by an altogether more skilled violinist named Antonio Brunetti (who was interested in playing Mozart's concertos), he took the concertos and put them back on the assembly line, revising and updating the violin writing. It would be very interesting to know whether or not the finalized, difficult, and brilliantly-figured score of the Violin Concerto No. 4 lay within the grasp of Mozart the violinist, or if it was on account of Brunetti's greater mastery that Mozart made his last two violin concertos so technically demanding. Whatever the case may be, the fourth Mozart violin concerto remains the most immediately scintillating of the five -- when asked to bring a Mozart concerto to the audition room, this is the one that is selected most often by aspiring violinists.

    It is not happenstance that D major is the key most often selected by composers in which to cast their violin concertos (two of Mozart's are in that key), for it is in D major that the instrument, because of the tuning of its strings, vibrates most freely and rings longest. Mozart exploits this tonally-concocted capacity many times as the Concerto No. 4 moves along, from the resounding unisons and octaves of the orchestra opening to the shining entrance of the soloist on that same material (two octaves higher) to the rich arpeggios that later on lead the way into the recapitulation of the opening.

    The Andante cantabile slow movement has not the fame of either the slow movement of the Concerto No. 3 in G or that of the Concerto No. 5 in A, but there is no shame in being a lesser-known gem. The main music of the Andante grazioso finale cannot decide between a light 2/4 and a more energized 6/8. But this is not the only such argument of tempo and meter in the movement: Mozart has returned to the kind of French Rondo finale that he used in the previous violin concerto, this time incorporating a rolling gigue and a folkish gavotte in the middle portion (all rondos are defined by alternation of a refrain theme with somewhat different material, but in a French Rondo the music stops altogether and suddenly, and sometimes very humorously, shoots off in an entirely new direction for a while).

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro
    2. Andante cantabile
    3. Rondeau. Andante grazioso

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Onyx / Onyx Classics ONYX 4164
    2016 AAO Music 63542
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796314
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 002894795516
    2016 RCA Red Seal 88843095342
    2016 Brilliant Classics 95368BR
    2016 Harmonia Mundi HMC 90223031
    2016 Naxos 8573513
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon
    2016 Decca / Philips 4788977
    2016 EuroArts / Warner Classics 555050
    2016 Warner Classics 0825646777051
    2015 Warner Classics 0825646144433
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4794708
    2015 Hänssler Classic 94230
    2015 Avie AVR 2317
    2015 Swedish Society Discofil SCD 1158
    2015 Hänssler Classic 98039
    2015 Glossa GCD 921121
    2015 Tuxedo Music TUXCD 1076
    2014 Warner Classics 5099901928129
    2014 Oehms Classics OC 862
    2014 Haenssler / Hänssler Classic 933160000000
    2014 PentaTone Classics PTC 5186479
    2014 Sony Classical G010002920902N
    2014 Sony Classical 88765447752
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon 4792936
    2013 Sony Classical 88765429342
    2013 2L 2L 038LP
    2013 Andromeda ANDRCD 9116
    2013 Regis Records 7010
    2013 EMI Classics / Virgin Classics / Warner Classics 5099941648
    2012 Naxos 8501058
    2012 Virgin Classics
    2012 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099960248
    2012 Decca
    2012 Music & Arts MA 1225
    2012 Concerto / Zebralution
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon 002894779464
    2011 Novalis 1501972
    2011 PentaTone Classics PTC 5186453
    2011 BIS SACD 1755
    2011 Red Bus Classical RCLAS 020
    2011 Transart Live TR145
    2011 ZYX CLA 101172
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94096
    2011 Denon Records
    2010 RCA Red Seal 8869768959
    2010 Membran 233081
    2010 RCA Red Seal / Sony Classical 88697761382
    2010 Doremi Records 7970/1
    2010 BBC Music Magazine 323
    2010 Decca
    2010 MJA Productions
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
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    2010 Archipel 0445
    2010 AAO Music
    2010 Teldec 256468103
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Sony Classical 88697712912
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926504
    2009 Tahra 670/1
    2009 Nonesuch 512789
    2009 Doremi Records 7964-69
    2009 Denon Records 00795041947321
    2009 Glossa GCD 921108
    2009 Preiser Records 90760
    2009 Gramola 98890
    2009 Music & Arts MACD1223
    2009 Audite 95588
    2009 Harmonia Mundi 290754145
    2009 Document / Documents 224042
    2009 Decca 4781149
    2009 Decca
    2009 Document 231753
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926413
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926419
    2008 Opendisc / Warner Classics 0946395373
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099921471
    2008 Warner Classics
    2008 Opus KURA 2073/74
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099921731
    2008 Oehms Classics 579
    2008 Hungaroton 32553/4
    2008 ZYX Music 10320
    2008 Berlin Classics 0184452BC
    2008 Landscape Classics / Zebralution
    2008 Nonesuch
    2008 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 358149
    2008 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 575449-2
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 457645
    2008 Archiv Produktion
    2008 Archiv Produktion 4777371
    2008 Philips 4646602
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099920763
    2008 EMI Classics
    2007 HDC 40301
    2007 Idis 6515
    2007 EMI Music Distribution 574872
    2007 EMI Classics 87894
    2007 Apex 4643292
    2007 Universal Classics & Jazz
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    2007 Melodiya 1001215
    2007 EMI Classics 78374
    2007 BBC Legends 5003
    2007 Gega New 283
    2007 Decca 4758371
    2007 Supraphon 38352
    2006 Universal Classics & Jazz
    2006 Ondine ODE10782
    2006 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon / Philips / Universal Classics & Jazz
    2006 Brilliant 92868
    2006 Harmonia Mundi 907385
    2006 Harmonia Mundi 807385
    2006 Brilliant / Brilliant Classics 99395
    2006 Haenssler 93129
    2006 Nimbus 5009
    2006 Philips
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon
    2006 2L 38
    2006 Sony Music Distribution 42412
    2006 Brilliant 92884
    2006 Erato / Virgin 7243482122
    2006 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 53214
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    2006 CBC Records 5238
    2006 Berlin Classics 0184002
    2006 Simply 024
    2005 Document 223010
    2005 Warner Music 4623332
    2005 Avie 2058
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    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 474 2152GH2
    2005 Parlophone
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    2005 PentaTone Classics 5186064
    2005 Brilliant 92540
    2004 Tahra 533
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 585030
    2004 Brilliant 92388
    2004 Novalis 150710
    2004 High Definition Classics 008
    2004 EMI Classics 62826
    2004 Testament 1343
    2003 Delta Distribution 15879
    2003 BBC Legends 4127
    2003 Arbiter ARBITER138
    2003 Andante 4060
    2003 Philips 000017902
    2003 Doremi Records 7730
    2003 Cembal d'Amour 120
    2003 Delta Distribution 40039
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    2003 Ondine 1025
    2003 Virgin Veritas
    2003 Brilliant 99713
    2003 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) 40285
    2003 EMI Music Distribution 85562
    2003 Haenssler 93064
    2003 Rca Red Seal 34170
    2002 Opus KURA 2029
    2002 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) / Brentwood Records 40185
    2002 Doremi Records 7803
    2002 Philips 470292
    2002 Legacy 89841
    2002 Naïve 1002
    2002 Figaro Recordings 99077
    2001 Classica d'Oro 2005
    2001 Music Digital 40502
    2001 Koch Schwann 367732
    2001 Teldec 85193
    2001 Capriccio Records 51045
    2001 Virgin 61842
    2001 EMI Classics 74678
    2001 Nimbus 1735
    2001 History 205223
    2000 Naxos 110921
    2000 Dutton Laboratories 9704
    2000 Delta Distribution 49385
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    2000 Laserlight 15879
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    2000 Arte Nova 72104
    2000 Q Disc 97015
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    1999 Berlin Classics 0011592
    1999 Erato / Virgin 7243561576
    1999 Claves 508913/14
    1999 Arkadia 78551
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    1999 Philips 446231
    1998 Rhino 72950
    1998 Nimbus NI1756
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 457 720-2GOR
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon
    1997 Music & Arts 972
    1997 BMG 61761
    1997 Arbiter 107
    1997 Arcobaleno 94092
    1997 Point Classics 265053
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon
    1997 L'Oiseau-Lyre 455721
    1997 Point Classics 265008
    1996 Music & Arts CD-290
    1996 Deutsche Grammophon 453 043-2GTA2
    1996 EMI Music Distribution 569355
    1996 Magic Talent 48006
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    1995 Sony Music Distribution 67193
    1995 Sony Music Distribution 64468
    1995 Deutsche Grammophon 445535
    1995 Seraphim UK 5685302
    1995 Sony Classical 66475
    1995 Philips 446 222-2PB25
    1995 ZYX Music 1001
    1994 Supraphon 1906
    1994 Novalis E 150060-2
    1994 Novalis 150007
    1994 Naxos 503002
    1994 Naxos 8003
    1993 Pearl 9996
    1993 Naxos 550332
    1993 Royal Classics 6421
    1993 Philips 438323
    1993 Philips
    1993 Pearl 9377
    1992 Sony Music Distribution 46540
    1991 L'Oiseau-Lyre 433045
    1991 CBS Records Masterworks 45614
    1991 Philips 422508
    1991 Sony Music Distribution 46523
    1991 Deutsche Grammophon 431282
    1990 Delta Distribution 15850
    1990 Laserlight 35860
    1990 Laserlight 15650
    1990 Laserlight 15525
    1990 Sony Music Distribution 44503
    1990 CBS Records 42494
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 415975
    1989 CBS Records 37808
    1989 Deutsche Grammophon 429159
    1988 Deutsche Grammophon 423107
    History 205224
    Fono Enterprise 99367
    Biddulph Recordings LAB016
    Fono Enterprise 99395
    Deutsche Grammophon 000303102
    Classic Art 181
    BMG 61749
    Decca 97015
    Vivace 316
    Panton Records 0529
    Music & Arts 299
    Brilliant 92627
    Brilliant 92626/17
    Fidelio 8833
    Elap Records 3215
    Musique d'Or 1072
    Vivace 594
    Supraphon 111906
    Philips 416632
    White Label 154
    Digital Masterworks 71835
    Suite Records 6006
    Vox Allegretto 8141
    Excelsior Recordings 008
    Fone 98F03
    Amado Classics 01029
    Musical Heritage Society 524372
    Denon Records 7505
    Philips 464722
    CBS Records Masterworks 45614
    CBS Records 37839
    Supraphon 112240
    Musical Heritage Society 5389548
    EMI Music Distribution 47431
    EMI Classics 47011
    EMI Music Distribution 69865
    Sony Music Distribution 48031
    Laserlight 35856
    Stradivari 6053
    Brilliant 92388/24
    EMI Music Distribution 74744
    Brilliant Classics 93669/24
    Brilliant 92265/6
    Brilliant 99713/6
    Brilliant 92436/2
    Philips 422468
    EMI Classics 64288
    IMP Classics 947
    One-Eleven 91050
    Biddulph Recordings LAB009-10
    K-Tel Distribution 3807002
    Panton Records 811302
    Denon Records 18021