NEW CONCERT TIME: 1.15-2.15pm
Sections of this pack are designed for your class to explore individually, or in small groups. There are some suggested questions for each section, but you could also use the information and ideas as a starting point for further music, creative writing or history based activities.
The concert at Coronation Hall will be specially presented for Key Stage 2 pupils, and won’t require any prior knowledge for children to play a full part. You’re welcome to use this pack either before or after the performance, whenever you feel it will be most useful to your class.
The Coronation Hall and Manchester Camerata are happy for you to copy, share and edit this pack as you wish. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for future resources, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite only living until the age of 35 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed a vast amount of music and his innovations in a number of different musical styles has led to him being regarded as one of the greatest Western composers.
Born in Salzburg, Austria in 1756 as the seventh child of Leopold and Maria Anna Mozart, Wolfgang began to show considerable musical talent at a very early age. His father was a relatively famous composer and violinist in his own right and had a big influence on his son’s musical progress.
By the age of four, Wolfgang had already learnt a number of pieces on the piano and had begun composing. The earliest known compositions were two miniatures written in 1761 when he was only five years old. During his childhood, Mozart performed along with his father and sister Nanerl to a number of important European ambassadors, undertaking five tours of Europe between the ages of 7 and 17, travelling to countries such as Germany, France, Switzerland and England.
During this time Mozart composed a number of works ranging from solo piano pieces and string quartets to concertos to chamber symphonies, incorporating the different musical styles which he encountered on his travels. Touring Italy intermittently between 1769 and 1773, Mozart became especially familiar with Italian Opera, creating two successful operas of his own Mitridate and Lucio Silla. Mozart continued to write operas throughout his life with the most famous being The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute.
After his touring years, Mozart returned to Salzburg taking a court role, enjoying one his most creative periods composing four violin concertos, four keyboard concertos and a number of symphonies. However, he became tired of court life and became one of the earliest musicians to work without a patron, instead earning his income through commissions.
Shortly after leaving Salzburg for Vienna, Wolfgang fell in love with the singer Constanze Weber and they married in 1783. Together they had six children however only two survived into adulthood. Being a virtuosic pianist, Mozart attempted to finance his family through performing concerts however he began to run into financial trouble. Problems with money continued until his death however he was still able to live a relatively lavish lifestyle to remain within upper class artistic circles.
As well as financial difficulties, illness also defined Mozart’s later life. Years of travelling led to the contraction of a number of diseases such as smallpox, pneumonia and tonsillitis however in November 1791 Mozart became severely ill. He had been working on a Requiem Mass which had been commissioned by Count Walsegg-Stuppach for his late wife and attempted to complete it despite his condition. The work was to remain unfinished as on 5th December 1791 Mozart died. The exact cause of death has never been confirmed however the most likely explanation is that it was rheumatic inflammatory fever.
Despite Mozart’s relatively short life, he left a great legacy and his music often viewed as the embodiment of the Classical style: balancing beauty, strength, entertainment and joy. His mastery of many different styles, solo repertoire, string quartet, chamber ensemble, concerto, opera and symphony, illustrates his exceptional talent and has led to him being regarded as the most ‘universal’ composer in the history of Western music.
A concerto is a type of musical composition which usually features a single solo instrumentalist with an orchestral accompaniment. The aim of a concerto is to show off the technical skills of the individual performing as well as illustrating the musical potential of the instrument being played.
Traditionally a concerto consists of three movements: two faster outer movements with a slow lyrical middle movement. Towards the end of the first movement a cadenza is often performed which is an unaccompanied section where the performer improvises on the musical themes of the work. A cadenza usually ends with a trill which is when the soloist alternates between two notes in very quick succession.
An ostinato is a short melody or pattern of notes which is repeated a number of times at the same pitch. An example of this is the snare drum part in Ravel’s Bolero which repeats this two bar pattern over 160 times:
Ravel Bolero Snare Drum Rhythm
The French horn (or horn for short) consists of a very long brass tube, which curls round and round. Originally made from hollowed-out animals' horns, the horn was used for signalling, notably for hunting. The player puts their hand in the bell to change the sound of the instrument, and gets different notes by pressing down valves, which block off holes.
Originally Mozart would have written his Horn Concerto No.4 for natural horn which had no valves. To change notes the performer would have had to have excellent lip control as they didn’t have valves to help.
The French horn is unique among other brass instruments as it uses the left hand to press down the valves and has the widest playing range in the family spanning around 4 octaves.
The hunting horn ancestry has often been alluded to in compositions as can be heard in third movement of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No.4 which you will hear in the concert or in Wagner’s Ring cycle with Siegfried’s horn call.
The piece you’ll hear at The Coronation Hall is Mozart’s Horn Concerto No.4. It was written in 1786 whilst Mozart was living in Vienna and was composed for the soloist Joseph Ignaz Leutgeb. The piece explores the melodic capability of the horn but also the technical ability of Leutgeb as shown in the third movement.
The work follows the conventions of the classical concerto with three movements. The speed and feeling of each movement, is called its tempo and can be identified using Italian terms.
Mozart’s Horn Concerto No.4 looks like this:
Movement 1 Allegro Moderato Very quick, playful
Movement 2 Romanza (Andante Cantabile) In a singing style, at a walking pace
Movement 3 Rondo (Allegro Vivace) Fast and lively – rondo structure
An instrumental Romanza (or Romance) is a movement which is in a ‘romantic’ style. The term descends from vocal romances which originated in Spain and Italy during the 15th Century which were simple melodic tunes. A romance does not necessarily describe love – it relates more to the musical style of the piece.
With its vocal background, an instrumental Romance can be recognized by its lyrical style usually in a slow tempo - see if you could imagine any words which would match the tune.
A Rondo is a musical form or structure which is based upon a short tune which returns a number of times in the piece. The opening melody (named Section A) is used as a separator to the other musical sections (Section B, C etc.). A Rondo continues as long as the composer wants but after each new section the first melody must reappear.
The structure of each section of a Rondo is:
A – B – A – C – A – D - A etc.
- Can you count how many times Section A appears in the 3rd Movement of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4?
In the concert you will learn a way of remembering the main melody of the 3rd movement through adding these lyrics to the piece:
Oh this is a popular tune you know
With a lively feel and a fast tempo
Mozart’s French Horn Concerto
With a famous hunting tune, Tally-Ho!
For a video introduction of the instruments of the orchestra visit here
Or watch the BBC Symphony Orchestra perform Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra which gives a more thorough exploration each instrument of the orchestra here:
The largest section of the orchestra is the string section which consists of the violin, viola, ‘cello and double bass. They have a very diverse role often being at the heart of the orchestra. Whilst they look similar they have very different sounds with the smallest instrument, the violin, being the highest in pitch and the double bass being the lowest in pitch. To play a string instrument you draw a horsehair bow across the strings, or by plucking or tapping the strings.
The instruments in this family all used to be made of wood, which gives them their name. Today, they are made of wood, metal, plastic or some combination. They are all basically narrow cylinders or pipes, with holes, an opening at the bottom end and a mouthpiece at the top.
The mouthpieces for some woodwinds, including the clarinet, oboe and bassoon, use a thin piece of wood called a reed, which vibrates when you blow across it. The clarinet uses a single reed made of one piece of wood, while the oboe and bassoon use a double reed made of two pieces joined together. Just as with the stringed instruments, the smaller woodwinds play higher pitches while the longer and larger instruments play the lower notes. The woodwind family of instruments includes, from the highest sounding instruments to the lowest, the piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon.
The brass family of instruments can play louder than any other in the orchestra and can also be heard from far away. Like the woodwind family, brass players use their breath to produce sound, but instead of blowing into a reed, you vibrate your own lips by buzzing them against a metal cup-shaped mouthpiece. The mouthpiece helps to amplify the buzzing of the lips, which creates the sound. Most brass instruments have valves to change notes however the trombone has no valves and changes note by moving the position of the slide. Tightening or loosening the lips allows the brass player to change pitch. The orchestral brass section commonly includes the trumpet, French horn, trombone and the tuba. In Mozart’s Horn Concerto No.4 there is no tuba part.
Percussion instruments include any instrument that makes a sound when it is hit, shaken, or scraped. Some percussion instruments are tuned and can sound different notes, like the xylophone, timpani or piano, and some are untuned with no definite pitch, like the bass drum, cymbals or castanets. Unlike most of the other players in the orchestra, a percussionist will usually play many different instruments in one piece of music. Despite the large number of instruments in the section Mozart’s 4th Horn Concerto only features one type of percussion: Timpani.
How old was Mozart when he wrote his first compositions? _____________
Where was Mozart born? _____________
Name three countries Mozart visited on his European tours:
_____________ _____________ _____________
Who did Mozart write his 4th Horn Concerto for? _____________
How old was Mozart when he died? _____________
Name one of Mozart’s operas: __________________________
How many movements does a concerto normally have? _____________
What was the horn originally used for? __________________________
What is an ostinato? ___________________________________________________
About Manchester Camerata
Manchester Camerata is one of the UK’s leading chamber orchestras and is celebrating its 40th Anniversary for the 2012-2013 season. The orchestra performs regularly at a number of areas across the North West and the current principle conductor is Gábor Takács-Nagy.
Camerata’s award-winning education programme uses the power of music to inspire young people to reach their full potential. Each year more than 10,000 people from schools and communities across the North West take the lead in projects alongside Camerata musicians and composers, digital artists, poets, visual artists, film artists, architects, dramatists, engineers and dancers to create new art.