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Mozart composed copious quantities of keyboard music, of course, but no single movement is more remarkable than the heart-breaking Rondo in A minor, K. 511. This music represents a sublime distillation of the composer’s remarkable ability to infuse musical material with emotional intensity even while maintaining a sense of detachment and decorum.

Despite various conjectures as to the source of its somber mood, no clear evidence of the work’s melancholic origin survives. Mozart was 31 years old when he wrote it in 1787, but there is an ageless wisdom in this compact masterwork. As Richard Wigmore has observed, “With its yearning appoggiaturas, unquiet chromaticism, and rhapsodic ornamentation, the siciliano-style main theme sounds more prophetic of Chopin than anything else in Mozart."

-Dennis Bade served the Los Angeles Philharmonic for nearly a quarter century as Associate Director and Director of Publications.