About the program
During 1791, the last year of Mozart’s short life, he was hugely prolific. His Piano concerto in B flat major, K. 595, the last in a long line of concertos for the instrument, was included in his thematic catalogue on January 5. Then, over the subsequent eleven months (he died on December 5) Mozart composed, among others, his last two operas; La Clemenza di Tito and The Magic Flute; the Clarinet concerto and the Requiem Mass, although he died while working on the latter. Per questa bella mano, K. 612, a bass aria with an Obbligato double-bass accompaniment, was most probably penned originally as an incidental aria. Mozart then ‘enhanced’ it into a contemporary opera buffa presented in Vienna. We do not know precisely which opera this was. We do know, however, that the piece, later very popular as a concert aria, was sung and was made a success by Mozart’s friend and fellow composer, Franz Xaver Gerl, who performed Sarastro in the premiere of The Magic Flute.
Mozart composed his last complete instrumental opus, the Clarinet concerto, K. 622 in between the composition of his last two works for the stage, La Clemenza di Tito, written in an incredibly short time for the coronation of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II in Prague, and The Magic Flute. The concerto is dedicated to his good friend and fellow freemason, the virtuoso clarinetist Anton Stadler. Musicologists believe that the work was finished some time before October 1791. It was premiered on October 16, at Stadler’s charity concert in Prague.
Myths and legends abounded for centuries over the genesis of Mozart’s keystone work, Requiem, K. 626. However, researchers now believe they have finally uncovered the truth. In 1964 the great musicologist, Otto Erich Deutsch, found unquestionable evidence which showed it was Count Franz von Walsegg who sent Mozart the commission through a mysterious messenger. The count had a predilection for commissioning compositions, only to copy them and present them as his own work. One of the best known fragmentary works in the history of music, the Requiem is usually performed with the completion of his pupil Süssmayr.
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