The Piano Concerto No 1 in F major appeared first in 1818, and was published the following year under the title of ‘Society Concerto’ (Gesellschafts-Konzert) with a dedication to Count von Appony. Moscheles returned to it in 1823 and issued a revised version for future publications. It stands alone among his concertos for its restraint and lack of technical ostentation, and its nearly classical purity points to its being designed at least partly for his pupils. The perceptive listener cannot fail to recognise the deeply ingrained influence of Mozart’s concertos, above all in the structural perfection, but also at times in the orchestration (note the treatment of the horns near the end of the first movement and especially in the finale). But the music exudes an ebullience, a sunny quality of unfettered joy, which makes the phrase ‘Haydn meets Rossini’ come almost more aptly to mind. It is notable that Rossini told Moscheles in 1860 that he had enough flow of melody to write an opera (Moscheles’ rejoinder was “What a pity that I am not young enough to become your pupil!”). The opera remained unwritten, but the piano’s beautiful A minor melody at the start of the slow movement reveals a love and sure understanding of the cantando style. It is repeated later by the orchestra, hauntingly simplified, and supported by pianistic embroidery; the movement rises to a magically quiet A major close. The Rondo brims with happiness and wit, accelerating towards the end and even including a miniature ‘Rossini crescendo’ as if as a culmination of the audience’s pleasure.
from notes by Henry Roche © 2003