Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed the legendary “Jeunehomme” in January 1777. Officially known as Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat major, K.271, it is believed the composition was written for pianist Victoire Jenamy in Salzburg, Austria.
Only 21 years old at the time, Jeunehomme is one of Mozart’s very first mature compositions. The composition includes three movements and is approximately 32 minutes long. The opening Allegro spares no time in letting the listeners know that Mozart had come of age. Bold and contrary to the traditional style at the time, the orchestra does not play a lengthy first exposition, or ritornello, prior to the solo pianist’s entry. Instead, the orchestra opens and the piano unexpectedly answers, or retorts, shortly thereafter.
It is an unusual tactic that is repeated throughout the composition, giving the piano its own unique character that many liken to a character in an orchestra. In fact, the second movement is an opera scene that uses strings and violin’s to set a tragic scene before the piano enters the movement. Written in E-flat, the gentleness is overtaken by a darker C-minor Andantino, creating an impassioned mood and tone.
The opening and the finale combine the musical maturity of wit with an open-hearted feel. However, the finale, a rondo, adds yet more surprises with Mozart’s addition of trills and compositional virtuosity. The finale also changes tempo as it transforms into a graceful minuet, before the Presto closes in a cadenza.
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