Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219
In this masterclass, Professor Mia Cooper works with student Jisun on interpretation and character in Mozart’s Violin Concerto in A Major. She discusses the dilemma performers face when playing Mozart, as there are so many conflicting ideas about interpretation. Professor Cooper helps Jisun develop her own personal take on the music and encourages her to be more convincing with the different characters, imagining they are opera roles. She also uses the score to help determine the orchestral colors and works with Jusin to find colors on her own instrument that matches, particularly through vibrato and dynamics. Professor Cooper also offers suggestions on how to play different appoggiaturas according to the context and on bowing and fingering choices that will help avoid unintentional accents and best serve the phrasing. Overall, she helps Jisun maintain a sense of calm and intention while still capturing the exciting spirit and energy of the music.
How to make one’s individual interpretation convincing.
Applying operatic characters to different thematic material.
Adding colors to the sound, especially through varying the vibrato.
Determining how to play appoggiaturas.
Bowing and fingering choices that help reflect the phrasing.
Keeping the energy and tempo up while also staying relaxed.
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 consists of the following movements: the first movement (Allegro aperto - Adagio - Allegro aperto); the 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, which enters with a short but sweet dolce adagio passage in A Major. The orchestra follows with a simple accompaniment. Next, the piece returns 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.
“Try to always know what you’re playing with, what color you’re responding to or provoking.”
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 Mia Cooper’s feedback and comments.
She was principal first violin of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for five years
Mia Cooper studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Yossi Zivoni and Chamber Music at the Paris Conservatoire with Michel Strauss. On graduating, Mia was principal first violin of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for five years, and played with many of London’s chamber orchestras and ensembles, including the Fibonacci Sequence, Barbican Trio, Brodsky Quartet, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields.
Mia was appointed leader of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in 2006, and in the same year took up a position as Professor of Violin at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Mia has given masterclasses in the UK, Spain and Lithuania through Erasmus exchanges.
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.