Mozart's String Quintets

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RE: Mozart's String Quintets RE: Mozart's String Quintets

CraigM wrote:

naupilus wrote:

...I was struck by how profound and moving this music is.

...in particular K516 is a work of profound art.

What do you mean by 'profound' in this context?

Sorry for the delay in replying... life is busy.

I guess there are two ways to value or appreciate a work of art (in this case music) - the objective and the subjective. I cannot give a wholly objective evaluation (as some can I suspect) because I believe very strongly that an audience is an active participant in the creation of music, whether the audience is one, many or even just the musician themself. And I would also propose that we each bring our own exprience to the music, whether that is memory, association or something else. In believing this I give myself the latitude to use words like profound to try and express my own thoughts, often rather inadequately.

Enough of the apologia... why is K516 profound to me? Well I guess it is because in its utterance it reaches at something more complex than much other music. I do hear strong feelings of grief and loss in the piece and I agree with Parla and others that the music is stark to a degree that is exceptional in Mozart's work. The whole piece (and I really do like to think as music as wholes, not individual movements) has a journey from stark, dark yet still elegant music to something far more filled with light in the final movement. My own conception of the piece was cemented when I came to the conclusion (probably very silly) that the slow, resigned start to the last movement could actually be seen a movement within itself. (I cannot claim original thought here  - the idea was planted by somethingI read.) While there is no factual reason to see K516 as a five movement work suddenly the last movement made sense in my eyes and ears.

How can I explain this? If I imagine the start of the last movement as a slow introduction to what will follow, then the relative relief and discovered happiness in the movement seems almost ironic - a pretence at happiness or the 'mask' the music wears to hide the still present sadness of much of what preceded it. But if I imagine the slow section as a sort of final farewell to the sadness (a epilogue rather than a prologue perhaps?) the closing makes more sense. Then if feels to me as if Mozart and the music has come out the other side of the darkness - it is an affirmation of life and moving on, of mourning being worked out. This is something I see quite often in life and work - people who have been in deep despair or depression who reach a point of acceptance, which in turn actually gives one the impetus to live again.

So, as you can see, my feelings on the piece are certainly subjective and open to criticism. But its the only way I can communicate about music... however effective or ineffective that may be.

 

Naupilus

RE: Mozart's String Quintets

Many thanks for 78RPM and Naupilus for your last posts, full of interesting and analytical thoughts.

78RPM, allow me to still claim that, despite the choral works and Operas are great par excellence, the String Quintets constitute something unique in the genre and beyond. In his Choral works, there is the Mass in c minor and the Requiem, but there is a good amount of superb works in this genre by quite a few other composers, since the medium inspired them rather easily. The Operas, by all means, are more unique in their style, refinement, scope, structural development, vocal treatment etc. However, the genre has also plenty to offer by other composers.

However, the String Quintet medium is not an "easy" one and Mozart does not "excel" because of that. On the contrary it's a quite difficult one (definitely more complex than the String Quartet on account of the delicate balance between the two violas an d the cello on one hand and the dialogue along with harmony between the violas and the violins, on the other). Mozart excels mostly because he finds the voice of his innermost thoughts and most original musical ideas.

Naupilus (and quite a few others), the K.516, in the gloomy and ominous key of g minor, is not only about grief and the loss of his father, but, maybe at an equal perspective, a gentle and subtle outcry of his love for his father and beyond. This is extremely well presented, in the utmost subtlety and sublimity, in the magnificent slow movement (in his beloved E flat, the subdominant of the relative tonic, namely the B flat). The real grief comes only for awhile at the start of the final movement in the tonic (g minor) to be developed in the major tonic in the rest of the Finale, exploiting the happiest, most radiant and straightforward G major. It's interesting also that he chose the E flat for his final Quintet, K.614, (maybe as a connection with the profoundly painful slow movement of the K.516) to express his joie de vivre, in a concise but full of joy and optimism superb work.

All in all, Mozart in its uniqueness and at his most original and glorious opus.

Parla

RE: Mozart's String Quintets

As someone fairly new to string ensembles, I'm finding that the K593 and K614 (Arthur Grumiaux) are the most enjoyable works I've yet heard in this genre.  A purchase of a box set of CDs is likely soon.

RE: Mozart's String Quintets

Go ahead, Kev. This is some of the most rewarding and glorious music I have ever listen to.

By the way, all six Mozart's String Quintets are superb, divine and magnificent music.

Unfortunately, to be enjoyed to the full, they require your brain (your utmost attention) as well (with all due respect to the late Great Tenor).

Parla

 

RE: Mozart's String Quintets

Done.  I decided to buy the 3 CD set played by the Grumiaux Trio/Arpad Gerecz/Max Lesueur which includes all 6 and was BBC's Building a Library choice in 2005.  For critical listening, I like to sit exactly opposite and in the middle of my 2 speakers in order to place each instrument on the sound stage.  Even then, deciphering what each of the 5 players are doing is a difficult job for me as I'm not a musician.  Anyway, I'll try.

RE: Mozart's String Quintets

parla wrote:

........they require your brain (your utmost attention) as well (with all due respect to the late Great Tenor).

Parla

 

Parla, can you explain the reference to the late Great Tenor (?) in relation to Mozart's string quintets?

JKH

RE: Mozart's String Quintets

Just read the quote of Kev's post and, hopefully, you'll get it.

Parla

RE:

parla wrote:

Just read the quote of Kev's post and, hopefully, you'll get it.

It's a pity that being patronising isn't an Olympic event - Parla would be a dead cert for a gold medal.

RE:

CraigM wrote:

parla wrote:

Just read the quote of Kev's post and, hopefully, you'll get it.

It's a pity that being patronising isn't an Olympic event - Parla would be a dead cert for a gold medal.

I see what he means - my apologies, I'm afraid I never bother reading the 'signature quotes' (there must be a name for these?)at the bottom of posts and hence I missed it. Nothing personal, though, Kev, I assure you.

Craig, my dear late mam once told me that it was impossible to be patronised by someone one doesn't respect. 

JKH

RE: RE:

JKH wrote:

Nothing personal, though, Kev, I assure you.

No problem.

The quote was apt for me at the time because I think it's possible that brains are required, to fully appreciate complex music.  For example, I've seen Beethoven's later string quartets described as 'abstruse'.  I've tried them and don't like them.  Or is it that I'm not brainy enough to understand them?  Anyway, I'm concentrating on something I like for now i.e. the Mozarts.

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