Mozart's First Movement for Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K622
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Continuing a habit of challenging traditional structures in music and society, Mozart fosters unity between the ensemble and the soloist in a form that is usually built on contrast in the first movement of his Concerto for Clarinet in A Major, K 622.
This paper will begin with a brief discussion of sonata form, which will define many of the terms used in the remainder of the paper. Next, a detailed explanation of first-movement concerto form as it was understood in Mozart’s time. Following this, Mozart’s habits of altering tradition will be established, and there will be an analysis of the alterations he makes to first-movement concerto form in his Clarinet Concerto K 622, and how they foster unity.
The sonata is a unified formal structure broken up into several sections by theorists. The major sections are the exposition, the development, and the recapitulation. While the modern terms for these sections were only established in the early 20th century, the form’s consistency means that these terms can be applied to pieces before this time. The exposition contains the two major themes of the piece, called the primary and secondary theme, as of about 1750. The primary theme is in the tonic key, and the secondary theme is in another closely related key, which is reached through a modulatory transition, sometimes called the bridge. The development section modulates through several keys, but it only rarely introduces new material, and simply treats material already established