Concerto No. 5 in A Major, 1st movement
Concerto No. 5 in A Major, 1st movement
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
In this masterclass led by violinist Miriam Fried, her student Anatol Janos Toth works on evoking the playful nature of Mozart's work.
Produced by the Saline royale Academy in October, 2021 at Arc-et-Senans.
Miriam Fried opens this masterclass with a discourse on Anatol Janos Toth's interpretation of a cadenza, underlining the importance of playing a clear ending by setting a trajectory from the very beginning. With this, they discuss the jovial and humorous character of the composition, and how to express this in Toth’s playing. Fried articulates that one should not ‘try too hard’ and focus on simplicity in order to truly capture the comical nature of this concerto.
Additionally, the professor and student touch upon harmony, the traditional classical shape of a phrase, bowing distribution, and the value of reflecting upon the kind of sound one need’s to assert in order to communicate clear ideas to the orchestra and to the audience.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Concerto No. 5 in A Major premiered during the winter season of 1775 in Salzburg, Austria — a time in the composer’s life of when most of his string concertos were composed. The concerto was written for 2 oboes, strings, and 2 horns and consist of the following movements: first movement (Allegro apart - Adagio - Allegro aperto); second movement (Adagio in E Major); and the third movement (Rondeau - Tempo di minuetto).
The first movement begins with the orchestra playing the main theme, which is met with a solo violin that enters with a short but sweet dolce adagio passage in A Major. The orchestra follows with a simple accompaniment. Next, the piece returns back to the main theme, with the solo violin expressing a different melody over the orchestra.
Particularly notable, the aperto markings in this first movement are rarely present in Mozart’s instrumental music and are more commonly found in the composer’s operatic works. These markings suggest that the piece should be played with gaiety and radiance.
I think that these pieces have a tremendous amount of fun in them, and you should never forget that.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this violin masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Miriam Fried’s feedback and comments.
Miriam Fried has played with virtually every major orchestra in the United States and Europe and has been a frequent guest with the principal orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, as well as with the Israel Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, and the Vienna Symphony.
In recent seasons, Ms. Fried’s schedule has included orchestral engagements with such prestigious ensembles as the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the Czech Philharmonic, and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. In 1993, she premiered a violin concerto written for her by Donald Erb with the Grand Rapids Symphony, and recorded the work for Koss. Ms. Fried’s highly praised New York recitals of the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin were the culmination of three years of international performances.
She was the first violinist of the Mendelssohn String Quartet for ten years and collaborates regularly with her son, pianist Jonathan Biss. Currently, Miriam Fried is a professor at New England Conservatory and is invited to give masterclasses throughout the world. Since 1994 she has been program Director of the Ravinia Steans Music Institute, one of the country’s leading summer programs for young musicians.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a great child prodigy of Western music and one of the most important musicians of Classicism. He wrote more than six hundred compositions and single-handedly developed and popularized the piano concerto. He was widely recognized during his lifetime, and is still regarded as the most universal composer in the history of classical music.
Born in 1756 to Anna Maria and Leopold Mozart in Salzburg, Austria, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s musical talents were recognized at an early age. By age four, the young prodigy began playing the harpsichord, and by five-years old he was composing pieces. The Mozart family would make several trips throughout Europe to exhibit the young boy and his sister’s sensational virtuosity with the harpsichord and violin.
In later years, Mozart would enjoy a flourishing career in Vienna. He frequently performed as a pianist and was regarded as the most outstanding keyboard player in the city. In addition to his career as a performer, Mozart established himself as a fine composer. In 1782, he wrote the opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail, which was very successful. Other renowned operas written by the rising composer included Le Nozze de Figaro (1786), Don Giovanni (1787), and Cósi fan Tutte (1790).
The death of his father in 1787 may have marked the decline of Mozart’s career. He composed very few works, suffered many financial problems, and in 1791 during a visit in Prague for the premier of his opera La clemenza di Tito, Mozart became very ill. In his final days, Mozart was preoccupied with completing his final oeuvre : Requiem in D Minor, K. 626. Unfortunately, he was unable to complete this piece (it was later finished by his student Franz Xaver Süssmayr) as he passed away on December 5th, 1791 possibly of rheumatic fever, however the official cause is unknown.
Despite Mozart’s tragic early demise, the brilliant instrumentalist and composer left an unparalleled legacy. He was a gifted composer all around and wrote in every major genre including but not limited to symphonies, operas, solo concertos, sonatas, masses and more. His influence is wide and profound, and his music continues to be recognized and celebrated for its ingenuity.