"

VISIT WESTCORKMUSIC.IE

LATEST ADDITION TO THE ARCHIVE

String Quartet in B flat K.458 'Hunt Quartet'

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (b. 1756 - d. 1791)

Signum Quartet (photo credit: Irene Zandel)

Signum Quartet (photo credit: Irene Zandel)

Composer
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (b. 1756 - d. 1791)
Composition Year
1785
Work Movements
1. Allegro vivace assai
2. Minuet:moderato
3. Adagio
4. Allegro assai
Artists
Signum Quartet (Kerstin Dill, Annette Walther [violins], Xandi Van Dijk [viola], And Thomas Schmitz [cello])

Programme Note Writer:
© Sarah M. Burn

This is the fourth of the set of six string quartets known as the Haydn Quartets, which Mozart wrote between 1782 and 1785, when he had settled in Vienna and was making a name for himself as both a brilliant pianist and a free-lance composer, particularly following the success of Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Haydn, the first great composer of string quartets, wrote his Op.33 set of six quartets in 1781 ‘in an entirely new and special style’, and Mozart was so powerfully affected by them that he was inspired to spend more time composing chamber music. They met in December 1781, possibly at one of the quartet parties described by the Irish tenor Michael Kelly, where the players were Haydn, Dittersdorf, Mozart and Vanhal. Mozart published the six quartets with a long, highly personal and revealing dedication to Haydn: ‘… Here they are then, O great Man and my dearest Friend, these six children of mine … the fruit of long and laborious endeavour … You yourself, dearest friend, told me of your satisfaction with them during your last visit to this capital … May it therefore please you to receive them kindly and to be their Father, Guide and friend! …

In February, 1785 Haydn and Mozart’s father Leopold were present at a quartet party at which some or all of Mozart’s six new quartets were played, and Haydn, the most celebrated composer in Europe, said to Leopold, Before God, and as a man of honour, I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name. He has taste, and what is more, the most profound knowledge of composition. Unfortunately, most music critics were not so perceptive, and a Viennese journalist wrote in 1787: It is a pity that he aims too high in his artful and truly beautiful compositions, in order to become a new creator  … his new Quartets … which he has dedicated to Haydn, may well be called too highly seasoned – and whose palate can endure this for long? Leopold Mozart was of the opinion that the last three quartets were somewhat easier  than the first three, and that K.458 was a little on the light side, but splendidly composed. The long and laborious endeavour  was because Mozart had abandoned the easy Italianate style of his earlier quartets and these, his first mature string quartets, required much correcting and re-working. But one result was that he learned to think in four parts at will, instead of in terms of harmonised melody, and all the quartets have a spontaneous freshness and a wonderfully fluent technique.

As its nickname implies, K.458 opens in 6/8 time with the call of a hunting horn. All of the subsequent material in the first movement is derived from the first twelve bars, including the second subject, which begins as a five-note turn after the hunting call theme has been extensively elaborated. The movement ends with an emphatic coda. The second movement is an elegant minuet, although the accents in the minuet do not follow the normal pattern, but the feeling of heaviness and seriousness that this produces is offset by the perkiness of the delightful trio.

The lyrical slow movement is one of the most poetic slow movements in the whole set, and it has an emotional profundity only previously achieved in K.428, Mozart’s third Haydn Quartet. It is dominated by the ethereal first violin part and a concertante dialogue with the cello. It is the only slow movement in the set of six quartets that is marked Adagio, and to Mozart, as to all 18th century composers, this indicated expressive intention as well as tempo. At some points in the movement we are not aware of homage to Haydn so much as a foreshadowing of the mature Beethoven. The cheerful sonata form finale is once more in the Haydn tradition, although the lyrical expansiveness of certain sections is pure Mozart. There are three distinct themes, the most important of which is the spirited rondo-like first subject that provides the material for the strikingly vigorous contrapuntal development section.

FULL DETAILS SEARCH FOR MORE

String Quartet in B flat K.458 'Hunt Quartet'

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (b. 1756 - d. 1791)
Performance date: Saturday 27th June 2015
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

Share on Twitter | Share on Facebook
http://archive.westcorkmusic.ie/details/view/cmf/467

Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (b. 1756 - d. 1791)
Work Title String Quartet in B flat K.458 'Hunt Quartet'
Composition Year 1785
Work Movements 1. Allegro vivace assai
2. Minuet:moderato
3. Adagio
4. Allegro assai
Artist(s) Signum Quartet (Kerstin Dill, Annette Walther [violins], Xandi Van Dijk [viola], And Thomas Schmitz [cello])
Performance Date Saturday 27th June 2015
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Crespo Series
Duration 00:26:49
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category String Quartet
Instrumentation 2vn, va, vc
Programme Note Writer © Sarah M. Burn

This is the fourth of the set of six string quartets known as the Haydn Quartets, which Mozart wrote between 1782 and 1785, when he had settled in Vienna and was making a name for himself as both a brilliant pianist and a free-lance composer, particularly following the success of Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Haydn, the first great composer of string quartets, wrote his Op.33 set of six quartets in 1781 ‘in an entirely new and special style’, and Mozart was so powerfully affected by them that he was inspired to spend more time composing chamber music. They met in December 1781, possibly at one of the quartet parties described by the Irish tenor Michael Kelly, where the players were Haydn, Dittersdorf, Mozart and Vanhal. Mozart published the six quartets with a long, highly personal and revealing dedication to Haydn: ‘… Here they are then, O great Man and my dearest Friend, these six children of mine … the fruit of long and laborious endeavour … You yourself, dearest friend, told me of your satisfaction with them during your last visit to this capital … May it therefore please you to receive them kindly and to be their Father, Guide and friend! …

In February, 1785 Haydn and Mozart’s father Leopold were present at a quartet party at which some or all of Mozart’s six new quartets were played, and Haydn, the most celebrated composer in Europe, said to Leopold, Before God, and as a man of honour, I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name. He has taste, and what is more, the most profound knowledge of composition. Unfortunately, most music critics were not so perceptive, and a Viennese journalist wrote in 1787: It is a pity that he aims too high in his artful and truly beautiful compositions, in order to become a new creator  … his new Quartets … which he has dedicated to Haydn, may well be called too highly seasoned – and whose palate can endure this for long? Leopold Mozart was of the opinion that the last three quartets were somewhat easier  than the first three, and that K.458 was a little on the light side, but splendidly composed. The long and laborious endeavour  was because Mozart had abandoned the easy Italianate style of his earlier quartets and these, his first mature string quartets, required much correcting and re-working. But one result was that he learned to think in four parts at will, instead of in terms of harmonised melody, and all the quartets have a spontaneous freshness and a wonderfully fluent technique.

As its nickname implies, K.458 opens in 6/8 time with the call of a hunting horn. All of the subsequent material in the first movement is derived from the first twelve bars, including the second subject, which begins as a five-note turn after the hunting call theme has been extensively elaborated. The movement ends with an emphatic coda. The second movement is an elegant minuet, although the accents in the minuet do not follow the normal pattern, but the feeling of heaviness and seriousness that this produces is offset by the perkiness of the delightful trio.

The lyrical slow movement is one of the most poetic slow movements in the whole set, and it has an emotional profundity only previously achieved in K.428, Mozart’s third Haydn Quartet. It is dominated by the ethereal first violin part and a concertante dialogue with the cello. It is the only slow movement in the set of six quartets that is marked Adagio, and to Mozart, as to all 18th century composers, this indicated expressive intention as well as tempo. At some points in the movement we are not aware of homage to Haydn so much as a foreshadowing of the mature Beethoven. The cheerful sonata form finale is once more in the Haydn tradition, although the lyrical expansiveness of certain sections is pure Mozart. There are three distinct themes, the most important of which is the spirited rondo-like first subject that provides the material for the strikingly vigorous contrapuntal development section.