Skip to page content

Composed: 1776

Length: 20 minutes

Orchestration: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 horns, strings, and solo piano

First Los Angeles Philharmonic performances

Mozart composed his Concerto in B-flat, K. 238, when he was 20 years old. His years of traveling across Europe as a child prodigy behind him, Mozart was settled in Salzburg at the time, where he worked as concertmaster and court organist. He frequently appeared at court and salon concerts, and it was most likely for such settings that Mozart wrote the present concerto. It premiered, with Mozart at the keyboard, during the 1776 carnival season. The concerto continues in the vein of its predecessor, K. 175, with its sonata form opening movement and rondo finale. Mozart introduces some interesting touches of orchestration right at the outset, with the lively writing for the horns, something that returns in the finale. The refined slow movement, with its sighing flutes and oboes, its stream of melody, and its gentle but poignant harmonic shifts, shows the young Mozart at his finest, hinting at the expressive profundities of his future concertos.

- John Mangum is the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association's Program Designer/Annotator.