Mozart completed the Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat major on December 16, 1785 as he was approaching the height of his popularity in Vienna. Almost simultaneously, he had been working on the score to The Marriage of Figaro. This is the second concerto to feature here from Mozart released in the same year. The previous article was Piano No 20 Concerto in D Minor.
Wolfgang Amadeus constantly composed during this successful period in Vienna. Symphonies, songs, sonatas, piano concertos, arias, quintets, quartets, trios and horn concertos. Financially, he was now very well off. He was even able to afford the rent for an apartment in Schulerstrasse, right behind St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, for 460 guilders per year – more than his father earned in an entire year.
Though opera like The Marriage of Figaro was the most prestigious genre of music, piano concertos formed the bread and butter of Mozart’s career at the time, and his performances of his own works were in high demand. Today’s concerto piece which features prominently in the Film Amadeus is the final stanza (Allegro) of the entire Piano Concerto No 22.
Michael Kelly, an Irish tenor who originated the roles of Basilio and Don Curzio in The Marriage of Figaro, left a vivid description of Mozart’s piano technique from this time: “His feeling, the rapidity of his fingers, the great execution and strength of his left hand particularly, and the apparent inspiration of his modulations, astounded me.”
As far as we know, Mozart likely performed this particular concerto at least three times during his life: twice within a few weeks of its completion and again during a series of subscription concerts the following Lent.