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Ah, I feel it, it has disappeared Forever gone love’s happiness! [Mozart – Die Zauberflöte Bernard Haitink/Lucia Popp/Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks Warner Classics] Lost love, rejection, despair: no, I know it’s not chamber music, but Pamina’s deeply moving aria from the second act of The Magic Flute demonstrates perfectly the emotions that Mozart associated with the […]

Skittles, anyone?

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. […]

Chromaticism

The opening of Mozart’s quartet in E-flat, K.428 gives us really good opportunity to examine the composer’s use of chromaticism. What’s chromaticism? Well, an ordinary (diatonic) scale — as in Ex. 2 below (of C major) — uses only 7 of the available 12 notes between one octave and the next, whereas the chromatic scale […]

Gran Partita K. 361

Nobody seems absolutely certain when the Gran Partita was written, but it was most likely composed about the same time as the six ‘Haydn’ quartets (between 1782 and 1785). It’s Mozart’s largest piece for wind ensemble, both in terms of duration (50 minutes plus) and numbers (2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassett horns, 2 bassoons, 4 horns […]

A significant development…

Mozart: String Quartets (DG Collectors Edition), Hagen Quartet We’ve spent some time over the last fortnight talking about, listening to, and comparing expositions and recapitulations; now it’s the turn of that crucial middle bit, the development section, to go under the spotlight. Course materials: A list of all 23 Mozart quartets plus some other useful bits […]

Brush up your fugue-speak – K.387, Finale

Do you remember our study of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier — subjects, counter subjects, answers, strettos, etc? Well, here’s a golden opportunity to dust down your fugue jargon and give it a good airing because in the Finale of his quartet K. 387 Mozart shows off his far from inconsiderable contrapuntal skills  in an astonishing mixture of […]