Schubert wrote his Overture in E minor in 1819. It was performed in Vienna two years later, but then disappeared from public view until the publication of Schubert’s collected works in 1886. Some Schubertians regard it as a landmark work of unusual power, breaking ground that he would build on in his last two symphonies. Schubert biographer John Reed appears to disagree when he writes that it “lacks any touch of Schubertian charm. The themes are short and symphonic, rather than lyrical.” But the two opinions are reconcilable. The Overture is, in a sense, Schubert doing Beethoven: The short motifs building into longer sequences and the mounting tension and explosive climaxes all show Beethoven’s influence on the 22-year-old Schubert. At the same time, the actual construction of those sequences, with the same motif repeated at progressively higher or lower pitches, harks back to Baroque music. Orchestration: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, and strings.This performance by the Prague Sinfonia, conducted by Christian Benda
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote 27 concertos for piano and orchestra. These works, many of which Mozart composed for himself to play in the Vienna concert series of 1784–86, held a special place for him; indeed, Mozart’s father apparently interrupted him composing a “harpsichord concerto” at age 4.
For a long time relatively neglected, they have come to be seen as containing some of his greatest achievements. Tovey championed them in his Essay on the Classical Concerto in 1903, and later came the famous books by Cuthbert Girdlestone and Arthur Hutchings in 1940 (originally published in French) and 1948, respectively. Hans Tischler published a structural and thematic analysis of the concertos in 1966, followed by the works by Charles Rosen, and Leeson and Robert Levin. In recent years, two of the concertos have also been covered in the Cambridge Music Handbook series. The first complete edition was not until that of Richault from around 1850; and since then the scores and autographs have become widely available through the publications of, among others, Norton, Eulenberg and Dover.