The violin concertos K. 211, 216, 218 and 219 were all composed within a
few months, between June and December 1775, while Mozart was in the employ
of the Archbishop of Salzburg. K. 218 opens with a long orchestral
introduction after which the soloist introduces new themes that are
developed with virtuoso elements such as trills, arpeggios and pizzicati.
The Andante cantabile stands out for its poetic and intensely lyrical
violin melodies. The final movement is an imaginative fusion of rondo and
sonata first-movement form. The entire work dazzles with its bravura
writing that makes it so believed among soloists.
After having devoted himself to Baroque music for many years, Nikolaus
Harnoncourt began turning increasingly to the orchestral works of Mozart in
the 1980s. Here, too, Harnoncourt's views differed radically from those of
traditional Mozart reception. For him, Mozart is "the most romantic
composer of all", his music "dramatic, dynamic, often strikingly and
exceedingly emotional". In Gidon Kremer, Harnoncourt found a partner who
shared his views. The German-Russian violin virtuoso has also sought his
own path in his Mozart interpretations. In 1970 the then 23-year-old
virtuoso attained the first peak of his career by winning the first prize
at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. He has since
become one of the most sought-after violinists in the world. It should also
be noted that the Vienna Philharmonic, celebrated for its natural and
graceful Mozart style, initially opposed Harnoncourt's unconventional
concepts. However, the orchestra was soon won over by the unusual stylistic
approach often concertizes with Harnoncourt today.