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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Oboe Concerto Composed in 1777

While Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart may be one of the most well-known composers in the world, his Oboe Concerto was forgotten for many years and was surrounded by mystery.

Based on letters to his father, Mozart composed the Oboe Concerto in the spring or summer of 1777. The piece was commissioned for oboist Giuseppe Ferlendis, who was hired for the Salzburg Hofkappelle Orchestra by Mozart’s employer, Archbishop Hieronymous Colloredo. It is assumed that Mozart wrote the concerto before he left on a journey to Mannheim and Paris.

The following year, Mozart received a commission for a flute concerto. He quickly re-purposed the oboe concerto, transposing from the oboe key of C to the flute key of D. Throughout the next 150 years, the flute version was played while the original oboe piece was virtually forgotten.

Many assumed the two pieces were related, but it wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that archival evidence was found to prove the origin of the Oboe Concerto. The first publication of the original Oboe Concerto was discovered and confirmed to be the first written piece. The concerto’s three movements are greatly inspired by the opera’s dramatic pacing, which is not surprising considering the many operas written by Mozart. The first movement, Allegro Aperto, has the orchestra lay out the theme before the soloist’s impressive entrance with a rapid ascending scale. The second movement, Adagio ma non-troppo, is an impressive aria for the oboe, followed by the Rondo: Allegretto of the third movement, which encompasses the recurring theme. Mozart liked the third movement so much, that five years later he used some of the material for his opera The Abduction from the Seraglio.

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