Thursday, 17 July 2008

130. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - String Quintets (1773 - 91)


Title: Die Streichquintette
Performers: Amadeus Quartet, Cecil Aronowitz
Year: 1967-74
Length: 2 hours


Mozart gives us 6 interesting string quintets, they are actually viola quintets, although they are not known as such, the extra instrument is a viola, this is the most common kind of quintet. Boccherini added a Cello, however, and so would Schubert much later. And they are quite nifty.

Mozart does some great rococo music here, although it sometimes has a similar problem to Boccherini in that the music is a bit garden party music, but that is the fault of misuse of said music and not of Mozart of course.

What you get from Mozart that you don't get from lesser composers is the sheer emotiveness of some of the pieces, the adagios are properly sad, weeping things, and the allegros are explosions of joy. Still this is by no means my favourite set of Mozart pieces, I don't think that the string quintet has really come of age yet and we probably have to wait for a truly stupendous one...

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

A string quintet is an ensemble of five string instrument players or a piece written for such a combination. The most common combinations in classical music are two violins, two violas and cello or two violins, viola and two cellos. The second cello is occasionally replaced by a double bass, as in Antonín Dvořák's quintet Op.77 or Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart pioneered writing for a string quartet augmented by a second viola, and one outstanding masterpiece for the two-cello quintet is Franz Schubert's Quintet in C major. Closely related chamber music genres include the string trio, the string quartet, and the string sextet.

By convention, the string quintet with an extra viola is called a "viola quintet" and a string quintet with an extra cello is called a "cello quintet." While a naïve concert-goer might expect five violas on the stage when a "viola quintet" appears on a chamber music program, such a quintet would most likely be called a "quintet for five violas."

K.406 Part I, quite competently played, for amateurs:

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