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Quartet in D major K.499 “Hoffmeister”

Wolfgang Mozart (b. 1756 - d. 1791)

Quatuor Danel (photo credit: Derek Trillo)

Quatuor Danel (photo credit: Derek Trillo)

Composer
Wolfgang Mozart (b. 1756 - d. 1791)
Composition Year
1786
Work Movements
1. Allegretto
2. Menuetto: Allegretto
3. Adagio
4. Allegro
Artists
Quatuor Danel (Marc Danel, Gilles Millet [violins], Vlad Bogdanas [viola], Guy Danel [cello])

Programme Note Writer:
© Ian Fox

Anton Hoffmeister [1754-1812] was a popular composer in Vienna and owner of a publishing company specialising in chamber music.  A friend of Mozart, he published number of his works including this D Major Quartet, although he was later unsure of the wisdom of his decision as the public found the work too hard and refused to purchase it.  Unlike other quartets issued in sets of six, this was a one-off score and the name of its publisher has long been attached to it.  Perhaps it was a commission but there is little information available about its conception.  Mozart completed the Quartet in August 1786 in Vienna, a couple of months after the première of Figaro. 

The lengthy opening movement occupies almost half the Quartet’s duration and has a suave elegance about it. The first theme contains all the material for the movement with Mozart fashioning a kind of second subject from a variation of the theme. Haydn had been creating monothematic movements at that time and perhaps Mozart was influenced by this.  It is a finely crafted piece with remarkable canons and other polyphonic touches.  It is the short, second movement Minuet which had brought most critical acclaim to the Quartet:  Albert Einstein hailed it as unique, while Robbins Landon described it as one of the most original  in 18th century music.  The tune is a lusty country dance, more of a Ländler than a courtly Minuet,  while the contrasting central section is a sparkling creation, described by Einstein as a piece of musical wizardry.

 The slow movement is deeply moving with a sighing, amorous theme. It is one of Mozart’s most personal statements, full of a deeply-felt emotion.  In contrast the fourth movement is in Mozart’s opera buffa style, as with a number of his Piano Concerto finales. An initially hesitant theme bursts into vigorous action and the movement whirls away, like an ensemble from some comic opera, full of felicitous moments and good cheer. 

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Quartet in D major K.499 “Hoffmeister”

Composer: Wolfgang Mozart (b. 1756 - d. 1791)
Performance date: Monday 1st July 2013
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Wolfgang Mozart (b. 1756 - d. 1791)
Work Title Quartet in D major K.499 “Hoffmeister”
Composition Year 1786
Work Movements 1. Allegretto
2. Menuetto: Allegretto
3. Adagio
4. Allegro
Artist(s) Quatuor Danel (Marc Danel, Gilles Millet [violins], Vlad Bogdanas [viola], Guy Danel [cello])
Performance Date Monday 1st July 2013
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Stars in the Afternoon
Duration 00:32:51
Recording Engineer Damian Chennells, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category String Quartet
Instrumentation 2vn, va, vc
Programme Note Writer © Ian Fox

Anton Hoffmeister [1754-1812] was a popular composer in Vienna and owner of a publishing company specialising in chamber music.  A friend of Mozart, he published number of his works including this D Major Quartet, although he was later unsure of the wisdom of his decision as the public found the work too hard and refused to purchase it.  Unlike other quartets issued in sets of six, this was a one-off score and the name of its publisher has long been attached to it.  Perhaps it was a commission but there is little information available about its conception.  Mozart completed the Quartet in August 1786 in Vienna, a couple of months after the première of Figaro. 

The lengthy opening movement occupies almost half the Quartet’s duration and has a suave elegance about it. The first theme contains all the material for the movement with Mozart fashioning a kind of second subject from a variation of the theme. Haydn had been creating monothematic movements at that time and perhaps Mozart was influenced by this.  It is a finely crafted piece with remarkable canons and other polyphonic touches.  It is the short, second movement Minuet which had brought most critical acclaim to the Quartet:  Albert Einstein hailed it as unique, while Robbins Landon described it as one of the most original  in 18th century music.  The tune is a lusty country dance, more of a Ländler than a courtly Minuet,  while the contrasting central section is a sparkling creation, described by Einstein as a piece of musical wizardry.

 The slow movement is deeply moving with a sighing, amorous theme. It is one of Mozart’s most personal statements, full of a deeply-felt emotion.  In contrast the fourth movement is in Mozart’s opera buffa style, as with a number of his Piano Concerto finales. An initially hesitant theme bursts into vigorous action and the movement whirls away, like an ensemble from some comic opera, full of felicitous moments and good cheer.