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MusicPart of Humanities

Mozart Premiere in Southampton

Published: 9 January 2008

On Saturday, January 19, the fragmentary Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra in F, K293, composed by Mozart over two hundred years ago, will be performed for the first time, in a completion by Southampton's Professor William Drabkin.

In 1778, towards the end of his employment with the Salzburg court orchestra, Mozart wrote out five pages of the first movement in full score, then abandoned the work. That does not, however, mean that he was dissatisfied with what he had done. It was not unusual for Mozart to abandon a concerto and pick it up later: many of his most famous concertos, including several for piano as well as the the celebrated Clarinet Concerto, were completed well after they were begun, sometimes years later. If, however, he had revisited this Oboe Concerto after a gap of a few years, it would have been the only concerto begun in his home town of Salzburg and completed in Vienna, where his symphonic works were written on an altogether grander scale. In this completion of the first movement, Professor Drabkin has tried to imagine how the “Viennese” Mozart might have completed an early work, bearing in mind that the original scoring—principal oboe, six wind instruments and a string orchestra with divided violas—is already larger than that of any comparable piece written during his Salzburg years.

The concerto will be performed at the Turner Sims Concert Hall by the Southampton Youth Orchestra under the direction of Jane Higgins, and the soloist is Andrew Knights, Professor of Oboe at Trinity College of Music and the oboe teacher at the University of Southampton since 1995.

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