Mozart's String Quintets

1 post / 0 new
parla's picture
Mozart's String Quintets

Haydn and Mozart attract some parallel between the originality of each other, while there are also other similarities between these two composers of genius. However, there is one genre, where Haydn, the great creator of so many new forms (like the String Quartet and the Piano Trio, where he excelled), did not touch at all, namely the String Quintet (either for two violins, two violas and one cello or one viola and two cellos). On the contrary, the Six Quintets occupy a paramount place in Mozart's magnificent output.

When Mozart came to compose these six magnificent works, the genre was still in its infancy. Boccherini came into this, by composing over a hundred of such works, in different instrumentations apart the classic one (two violins, two violas and a cello). Michael Haydn composed some less important Quintets too.

Apart from the youthful First complex Quintet in B flat, K.174 (1773) and the Second in c minor K.406 (which is a transcription of the wonderful Serenade K.388), the rest of them appear later on in his formidable Opus. It is the great year 1787, when the first two superb late String Quintets (in C major, K.515, and in g minor, K. 516) came to life. Then, in 1789-1790, the two wonders of Chamber Music, namely the Quintet in D major, K. 593, and the last one in his beloved E flat, K. 614, made their splendid appearance. They constitute, beyond any doubt, the outcome of such effort and work on the composer's part. By the pressence of an additional viola, the form provides a wider scope and a more complete as well as ample sound - an early outline of the romantic ideal, later transcended so effectively and with utmost beauty and craft by Brahms or Reger.

Without any obvious difficulty, the divine composer indulges in this unexplored form of composition with a profoundly dramatic musicality, a feeling of musical colour and a quality of the most refined tone, full of the most subtle nuances. In this genre, the wunder Wolfgang has actually achieved to square the circle; he attained the impossible, for over and above the principle of the form itself: he reveals to us an ability to transcend in such a way that is close to the human voice thanks to the way he uses the five instruments, being so capable of expressing the most intimate detail of the innermost emotions. In this way, a poignant tune will touch us fleetingly, a tender melody will charm, a harmony of joy will stir us, while time and space no longer matter.

Are these out of this world works known to you? If yes, which are your thoughts, views and the emotions created by listening to them? Hopefully, we may touch upon each one of them gradually.



© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2014