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On demand: Mozart's Rondo alla Turca

KonserthusetPlayRecorded at Konserthuset Stockholm: Stora Salen, Stockholm, Sweden

Rondo alla Turca – the Turkish March – is the dazzling final movement to one of Mozart’s piano sonatas. It is one of his most famous melodies and has appeared in many different arrangements, such as the one heard here with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra’s large woodwind section, with everything from piccolo to contrabassoon. Watch them perform led by conductor Mats Nilsson.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was very fond of Turkish music. The Ottoman Empire to which Turkey belonged stretched all the way to the periphery of Vienna. When Mozart wrote his famous Turkish March, the empire was certainly headed towards decline, but the music was still highly popular. The original version for piano of “Alla Turca”, which is the final movement, a rondo from Piano Sonata no. 11 in A major, was also played in Mozart’s time, on a piano equipped with an extra pedal that struck a drum inside to imitate the marching orchestras.

Mozart certainly would have enjoyed Fredrik Söderberg’s imaginative and ingenious arrangement. The instrument we hear and see at the very beginning, with the somewhat melancholy, nasal tone is an English horn. But soon the entire woodwind ensemble begins and we really hear Mozart’s lively nature behind the quick melodies. 

Filmed in January 2014.

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