Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Concerto No. 16 in D major, K. 451

    Description by Michael Jameson

    Contemporary records show that Mozart gave no fewer than 22 public performances between February 26 and April 3, 1784. In this period, it should come as no surprise to discover that he chose to return to a grand and brilliant format in the composition of his Piano Concerto No. 16 in D major, K. 451. As with its nearest predecessor in the same key of D major, Concerto No. 5, K. 175, the concerto includes parts in its orchestration for trumpets and drums, always emblematic of a pronounced celebratory and public style in Mozart concertos. (An even earlier D major Concerto, listed as K. 40, the third of Mozart's 27 piano concertos, was in fact an arrangement of sonata movements by Honauer, Eckard, and in the finale, C.P.E. Bach.) No. 16 is, however, an altogether deeper work, both more passionate and vital in character, more structurally masterful, and with a slow movement of remarkable intellectual substance.

    The first movement (Allegro) opens with a typically Mozartean march-like figure, evoking a rhythmic formula virtually identical to that which opened Concerto No. 13 in C, K. 415. Mozart was to employ the same solution again in a number of his subsequent piano concertos, notably Nos. 18 in B flat, K. 456, and 19 in F, K. 459. Mozart's solitary Piano Concerto in G, K. 453, differs only slightly in that it features a trill on the second note, though the generally purposeful demeanor of its opening is the same. The most arresting characteristic of the D major Concerto, K. 451, is its near-symphonic robustness and ambitious sense of scale throughout each of its three movements, and in this work, Mozart undoubtedly achieved a significant advance in unifying both symphonic and concerto genres in a new, all-embracing creative unity. Indeed, it may well be reasonable to suggest that the "modern" Classical piano concerto was born on March 22, 1784, the completion date which appears at the head of the manuscript. Although Mozart probably played the work himself soon afterwards, the copy he later sent to his sister contained one passage of the Andante in fragmentary form. He, therefore, sent her a substitute passage in richer harmonies, although on many occasions, Mozart's copies of concertos he played himself seem to have been at best sketchy, including just the bare outlines of themes upon which he would extemporize in performance. Listeners new to the work will find the bracing final rondo (marked Allegro di molto) especially powerful and dramatic, offering an affirmative summary of one of Mozart's most innovative middle-period piano concertos.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro
    2. Andante
    3. Allegro di molto

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Chandos CHAN 20035
    2016 Warner Classics 0190295974923
    2015 MDG / MDG Gold MDG 3401900
    2015 BIS BIS 2064
    2014 Archiv Produktion / Decca / Deutsche Grammophon
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 Warner Classics 2564660542
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2012 Sony Classical 88691912562
    2011 TransArt / Transart Live TR156
    2011 Decca 4782695
    2011 Decca 478 269-5
    2011 MDG MDG 94016676
    2011 EtCetera Records KTC1424
    2010 Decca
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Classical Records 127
    2010 Berlin Classics 0300035
    2008 BBC Legends / BBC Music 42472
    2008 Pro Musica Camerata 41519
    2008 Canal Grande 8016
    2008 Corona Records 0002462CCC
    2008 Regis Records 1274
    2008 Corona Classics 0002252CCC
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93669
    2008 Philips 4646602
    2007 TransArt / Transart Live TR1140
    2007 Fundacja Pro Musica Camerata 48
    2007 EMI Classics 87894
    2007 Arte Nova Classics 825760
    2007 Arte Nova 640110
    2006 Channel Productions 10
    2006 Warner Classics
    2006 Warner Classics
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 2894775214
    2006 Sony Music Distribution 87230
    2006 Philips 4757306
    2006 Philips
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99668
    2005 WEA 256462332-2
    2005 Warner Classics 61944
    2005 Brilliant 92541
    2005 Archipel 0324
    2005 K&K Verlagsanstalt 109604
    2005 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler 4011
    2005 Warner Classics 61919
    2005 Arte Nova Classics 82876640112
    2005 Brilliant 92540
    2004 Teldec / Warner Classics / Warner Music 4613982
    2004 Brilliant 92388
    2003 Decca 475 181-2
    2003 Brilliant 99720
    2003 Deutsche Grammophon 000020602
    2002 Deutsche Grammophon 469510
    2001 Archiv Produktion 463111
    2001 Sony Music Distribution 89500
    2000 Philips 464800
    2000 Decca 458285
    1999 Philips 454987
    1999 Philips 456964
    1998 Teldec 16827
    1997 Channel Productions 1791
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 445597
    1997 London 443727
    1995 Orfeo 330931
    1995 Art of Classics 885908
    1995 Classical Creations 820546
    1994 Naxos 550207
    1994 Philips
    1994 Naxos 506002
    1993 Philips 438207
    1993 Sony Music Distribution 46441
    1991 Archiv Produktion 431211
    1990 CBS Records 37824
    1990 Philips 422507
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 429001
    1986 Archiv Produktion 415525
    Brilliant 92627
    Melodram 18032
    As Disc 11014
    EMI Music Distribution 749982
    Warner Music
    Calig 51012
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler 4005
    EMI Music Distribution 69124
    Philips 416271
    London 433374
    London 411612
    Philips 426305
    Teldec 242743
    Brilliant Classics 99668/6
    Brilliant 92541/7
    Brilliant 92626/7
    Brilliant Classics 93669/12
    Brilliant 99720/7
    Pro-Arte Records 3537
    Brilliant 92388/12
    Amado Classics 01023
    EMI Music Distribution 62825
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics 572930-2
    Teldec
    CBS Masterworks 42055
    Edition HERA 2200