Mozart: Funeral March for Signor Maestro Contrapunto, KV 453a (Intermediate)

This piece was written in Vienna in 1784. It was composed for Barbara Ployer, one of Mozart’s students to whom he also dedicated his Piano Concerto in E-flat Major, KV 449 and his Piano Concerto in G Major, KV 453. It is in AB form, with repeats. Counterpoint, meaning the combination of two or more melodic lines, reached its zenith in terms of compositional popularity during the Baroque period. Its profuse use fell out of favor as the style galant movement took hold during the mid-18th century, and simpler, leaner music became more widespread. Barbara Ployer also took lessons from Mozart in music theory. This march, which lacks any counterpoint itself, is certainly a musical joke raised as a result of Ployer’s lessons. It is still a beautifully conceived piece, in spite of its novelty. Performing this march requires a solemn-faced solemnity similar to an actor playing a very serious (and ultimately very ironic) role in a comedy. The piece is very dramatic, with many subito changes in dynamics. Taper the two-notes slurs carefully at the end of each main section.

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