The soloist is playing a basset clarinet

Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major was written in October 1791. It consists of three movements, in a fast–slow–fast succession, and today’s extract is from the slow second movement. A concerto is a piece for a solo instrumentalist and orchestra.

Mozart c. 1780

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) is widely recognised as one of the greatest composers in the history of classical music. He was a child prodigy, playing keyboard and violin and composing from the age of five. He went on to compose more than 600 works during his short lifetime.

The Clarinet Concerto in A, K622 was completed in 1791, the year of Mozart’s death. It was also the first clarinet concerto to be written by a major composer, however it was originally written for the basset clarinet which is a clarinet that has four semitones added to its lower range.

The clarinet is part of the woodwind family

Shortly after this extract begins you will hear the soloist’s cadenza. A cadenza is a dramatic solo passage where the soloist plays and the orchestra pauses and remains silent. The music then returns to the main theme of this second movement.

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