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String Quintet No.6 in E flat K.614

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

Lilli Maijala

Lilli Maijala

Composer
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (b. 1756 - d. 1791)
Composition Year
1791
Work Movements
1. Allegro di molto
2. Andante
3. Menuetto (Allegro) - Trio
4. Allegro
Artists
Signum Quartet (Kerstin Dill, Annette Walther [violins], Xandi Van Dijk [viola], And Thomas Schmitz [cello]), Lilli Maijala [viola]

Programme Note Writer:
© Francis Humphrys

Mozart entered this Quintet in his thematic catalogue on 12 April 1791. It was not only his last quintet but the last of his chamber music for strings. It was commissioned by a Hungarian amateur, who is thought to have been Johann Tost. He was the leader of the second violins in Haydn's orchestra at Esterháza. He was also the dedicatee of 12 of Haydn's quartets, which he would have played himself as leader. Tost married well and became a cloth merchant and was thus in a position to patronise the arts. These commissions by bourgeois music-lovers had become Mozart's new source of income as a result of the drastic falling-off in his subscription concerts just as the vernacular opera with spoken dialogue and magical effects for Schikaneder's theatre was becoming a supplement to court opera with its lofty themes and recitative. All the Imperial court was offering Mozart at this moment was the dance music for the Redoutensaal Carnival balls. All Vienna, including Mozart, was mad about dancing so this may not be quite the insult it seems to us but was still a criminal waste of music's greatest genius.

The first movement opens with the two violas playing the main theme; Mozart like Dvo?ák played the viola so he probably planned to play it himself alongside Tost. The delicious two bar motive dominates the whole movement, appearing 56 times in the course of 231 bars, mostly played by the middle voices as the first violin is kept busy with spectacular bravura passages. The second theme appears only in the exposition and the recapitulation.

The Andante brings back the Romanze from Eine kleine Nachtmusik in a series of richly adorned variations, whose brilliance indicate that Mozart knew how well Tost and his colleagues could play. The Minuet is based on another non-melody, which is simply the descending scale of the dominant. He makes up for this with the simple beauty of the Ländler Trio, perhaps an unlooked for bonus from all the dance music he was writing. The first violin’s flowing melody has that unique Mozartian grace that sings with joy and cries for sadness in the self-same instant. It is then quite exquisitely expanded by the first viola over a drone from the other parts and then magically appears with the violins and first viola in unison with the second viola in harmony. This tiny interlude lasts just over a minute and yet seems to open a gate into another world.

The Finale is based on another motive-like theme that bubbles with Mozart's irrepressible humour. Tost's first violin is given plenty of concertante episodes but the main excitement is the extravagant counterpoint including two passages of witty fugato. He certainly never saw it as a farewell to his epoch-making series of quartets and quintets but it is fitting that he ends with a smile.

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String Quintet No.6 in E flat K.614

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (b. 1756 - d. 1791)
Performance date: Thursday 2nd July 2015
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (b. 1756 - d. 1791)
Work Title String Quintet No.6 in E flat K.614
Composition Year 1791
Work Movements 1. Allegro di molto
2. Andante
3. Menuetto (Allegro) - Trio
4. Allegro
Artist(s) Signum Quartet (Kerstin Dill, Annette Walther [violins], Xandi Van Dijk [viola], And Thomas Schmitz [cello]), Lilli Maijala [viola]
Performance Date Thursday 2nd July 2015
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Coffee Concert
Duration 00:25:20
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category String Quartet
Instrumentation 2vn, va, vc
Programme Note Writer © Francis Humphrys

Mozart entered this Quintet in his thematic catalogue on 12 April 1791. It was not only his last quintet but the last of his chamber music for strings. It was commissioned by a Hungarian amateur, who is thought to have been Johann Tost. He was the leader of the second violins in Haydn's orchestra at Esterháza. He was also the dedicatee of 12 of Haydn's quartets, which he would have played himself as leader. Tost married well and became a cloth merchant and was thus in a position to patronise the arts. These commissions by bourgeois music-lovers had become Mozart's new source of income as a result of the drastic falling-off in his subscription concerts just as the vernacular opera with spoken dialogue and magical effects for Schikaneder's theatre was becoming a supplement to court opera with its lofty themes and recitative. All the Imperial court was offering Mozart at this moment was the dance music for the Redoutensaal Carnival balls. All Vienna, including Mozart, was mad about dancing so this may not be quite the insult it seems to us but was still a criminal waste of music's greatest genius.

The first movement opens with the two violas playing the main theme; Mozart like Dvo?ák played the viola so he probably planned to play it himself alongside Tost. The delicious two bar motive dominates the whole movement, appearing 56 times in the course of 231 bars, mostly played by the middle voices as the first violin is kept busy with spectacular bravura passages. The second theme appears only in the exposition and the recapitulation.

The Andante brings back the Romanze from Eine kleine Nachtmusik in a series of richly adorned variations, whose brilliance indicate that Mozart knew how well Tost and his colleagues could play. The Minuet is based on another non-melody, which is simply the descending scale of the dominant. He makes up for this with the simple beauty of the Ländler Trio, perhaps an unlooked for bonus from all the dance music he was writing. The first violin’s flowing melody has that unique Mozartian grace that sings with joy and cries for sadness in the self-same instant. It is then quite exquisitely expanded by the first viola over a drone from the other parts and then magically appears with the violins and first viola in unison with the second viola in harmony. This tiny interlude lasts just over a minute and yet seems to open a gate into another world.

The Finale is based on another motive-like theme that bubbles with Mozart's irrepressible humour. Tost's first violin is given plenty of concertante episodes but the main excitement is the extravagant counterpoint including two passages of witty fugato. He certainly never saw it as a farewell to his epoch-making series of quartets and quintets but it is fitting that he ends with a smile.