Mozart, Piano Concerto No.17 in G major, K. 453

Throughout his life, Leonard Bernstein had held the music of W.A. Mozart in
the highest esteem and particularly enjoyed conducting the piano concertos
from the keyboard, playing the solo part himself, as in this recording. In
a televised lecture-concert with the New York Philharmonic from Venice's
La Fenice Opera House in 1959, Bernstein played the second and third
movements of the Piano Concerto in G major K. 453, which he prefaced with
the words: "If I absolutely had to name my all-time favorite piece of
music, I think I would vote for the Andante we are to hear now. It is
Mozart at the peak of his lyrical powers, combining serenity, melancholy,
and tragic intensity in one great lyric improvisation. You will hear the
tranquillity of a Schubert Lied, the filigree of a Chopin, the brooding of
a Mahler. And I would like you to be aware, particularly, of the beauty of
its orchestration. This concerto is orchestrally rather modest, even within
the already limited frame of the 18th-century orchestra. For instance, it
employs neither trumpets nor drums nor clarinets; and yet, wait till you
hear the wonders Mozart produces with three solo woodwinds, blending like
three glorious voices in an operatic trio, or the rich pathos he can create
with a little inner melody played by the violas. Again, even in his
orchestration Mozart has transcended his time. [...] And now we emerge from
the contemplation and mystery of that almost sacred Andante, into the
brilliant light of the Finale. Brilliant - that is the word for this
marvelous rococo set of variations. The whole movement is bathed in a
glitter that could have come only from the 18th century, from that age of
light, lightness, and enlightenment. It is a perfect product of the age of
reason - witty, objective, graceful, delicious. And yet, over it all hovers
the greater spirit that is Mozart's - the spirit of compassion, of
universal love, even of suffering - spirit that knows no age, that belongs
to all the ages."

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Title: Mozart, Piano Concerto No.17 in G major, K. 453
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Soloist: Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
Video Director: Humphrey Burton
Genre: Concert
Length: 36 minutes
Cat.No.: A05500670
Gallery         DVD         

The DVD is also released within the DVD package "Leonard Bernstein - The Anniversary DVD Edition" as well as by Dreamlife in Japan which are available in selected stores worldwide and through Amazon or JPC.