Skittles, anyone?

Signature 2

The Mozart trio for clarinet, viola and piano K. 498 has a nickname — it’s called the Kegelstatt Trio.

Kegelstatt? Who or what is a Kegelstatt?

The answer’s rather surprising, I suppose: it’s a skittle alley.

And what has the skittle alley have to do with the trio?

The answer’s simple and, again, I suppose, rather surprising: nothing.

So why the *!!$@ is it called the Kegelstatt Trio, then??

Ah! I thought you might ask that! It seems that about a week before completing the Trio, Mozart – who was fond of skittles – had composed some duets for horns, writing on the finished score Wien, den 27ten Jullius 1786 untern Kegelscheiben (Vienna 27 July 1786 whilst playing skittles). His publishers – for it was they who named the trio – must have laboured under the (one hopes) mistaken impression that, at this time, the composer was writing most of his music while simultaneously playing nine-pin bowls. And so it was, that by mere temporal proximity, the Clarinet Trio K. 498 became known as…

Kegelstatt

Course materials:

A list of all 23 Mozart quartets plus some other useful bits and pieces:

Quartet List

Cycle of 5ths

Keyboard graphic 2 octaves

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