MOZART: Cassations, K. 63, K. 99 and K. 100
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Cassation in G Major, K. 63
Cassation in B Flat Major, K. 99
Cassation (Serenade) in D Major, K. 100
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756, the son of a court musician who, in the year of his youngest child's birth, published an influential book on violin-playing. Leopold Mozart rose to occupy the position of Vice-Kapellmeister to the Archbishop of Salzburg, but sacrificed his own creative career to that of his son, in whom he detected early signs of precocious genius. With the indulgence of his patron, he was able to undertake extended concert tours of Europe in which his son and his elder sister Nannerl were able to astonish audiences. The boy played both the keyboard and the violin and could improvise and soon write down his own compositions.
Childhood that had brought signal success was followed by a less satisfactory period of adolescence largely in Salzburg, under the patronage of a new and less sympathetic Archbishop Mozart, like his father, found opportunities far too limited at home, while chances of travel were now restricted. In 1777, when leave of absence was not granted, he gave up employment in Salzburg to seek a future elsewhere, but neither Mannheim nor Paris, both musical centres of some importance, had anything for him. His Mannheim connections, however, brought a commission for an opera in Munich in 1781, and after its successful staging he was summoned by his patron to Vienna. There Mozart's dissatisfaction with his position resulted in a quarrel with the Archbishop and dismissal from his service.
The last ten years of Mozart's life were spent in Vienna in precarious independence of both patron and immediate paternal advice, a situation aggravated by an imprudent marriage. Initial success in the opera-house and as a performer was followed, as the decade went on, by increasing financial difficulties. By the time of his death in December 1791, however, his fortunes seemed about to change for the better, with the success of the German opera The Magic Flute, and the possibility of increased patronage.
The derivation of the word Cassation, a title current in south Germany in the third quarter of the eighteenth century, is open to dispute. Some have proposed the Italian word cassare, to send away, or cassa, a drum, while others have suggested the French casser, to break. German scholars have preferred the curious eighteenth century German Cassaten or gassatim spielen, to describe a street serenade, from the word Gasse. The word Cassation is generally applied to compositions otherwise known as serenades or divertimenti, works in a lighter style in a series of short movements. Mozart himself uses the word to describe the compositions K. 63 and K. 99, as well as the March, K. 62, supposedly part of the K. 100 Serenata. In a letter of 4th August 1770 to his sister, written in Bologna in high spirits, he gives the opening bars of the three works, apparently in reply to her suggestion that someone in Salzburg had been passing off his compositions as Mozart's.
The three Cassations, K. 63, K. 99 and K. 100, were probably written in Salzburg in the summer of 1769, intended for outdoor performances that marked the end of the academic year. It was the custom to play before the Schloss Mirabell, the residence of the Prince-Archbishop, and then in front of the college buildings, where the professors of the university had their quarters. Certainly two Final-Musik compositions by young Mozart were recorded as having been performed in August, 1769, the first, on 6th August, to mark the end of studies of Logic students, and the second, on 8th August, to celebrate the end of year for students in Physics, according to the traditional naming of each year in the established curriculum of studies. These two works may be identified with K. 63 and K. 99, with their similar instrumental demands. Both are scored for pairs of oboes and French horns, with strings, the bass part taken, for outdoor purposes, by double bass and bassoon, since cellos would not normally be played on occasions of this kind, for purely practical reasons.
The G major Cassation opens with a March, followed by an Allegro in clear sonata form. There is a C major Andante for strings, a G major Minuet and G minor Trio, followed by an Adagio in D major with a moving violin solo, accompanied by strings. The second Minuet, in G major, sees the return of the wind instruments, with a C major Trio for strings alone. The Finale, in compound time, encloses a brief excursion into the key of G minor.
The Cassation in B flat major, K. 99, opens with a March, followed by an Allegro of similar form to that in the preceding Cassation. There is an expressive E flat major Andante for strings only, with oboes and French horns returning for the following Minuet, its F major Trio left again to the strings. Oboes are retained for a G minor Andante, to be rejoined by the French horns for the second B flat major Minuet with an E flat Trio for strings only. The movement is succeeded by an Allegro that includes two Andante sections, the first in F major and the second in a concluding B flat major. The Cassation ends with a repetition of the opening March.
The D major Cassation is more extravagant in scoring. It presumably originally began with the March, now numbered K. 62, although this movement alone would have called for drums. The D major Allegro, scored for pairs of oboes, French horns and trumpets, with strings, bears the title Serenata and is in the expected form, making a brilliant opening. It precedes an Andante that makes use of a solo oboe and solo French horn, instruments that re-appear in the D major Trio of the G major Minuet, scored for strings only. The same wind instruments are employed in the succeeding Allegro, in splendid and demanding antiphony, with the trumpets returning to join in the second D major Minuet, its G major Trio left to the strings. Two flutes join the strings for an A major Andante, and there is a third Minuet, in D major, for oboes, horns, trumpets and strings, with a delicate D minor Trio for strings only. The final Allegro makes use of the whole band in a wonderfully lively conclusion.
Salzburg Chamber Orchestra
The Salzburg Chamber Orchestra was formed in 1988 from the ensemble of the Mozart Serenade concerts, consisting primarily of members of the Mozarteum Orchestra. The string orchestra is augmented as required by wind players (two oboes, two horns and others). The orchestra has a repertoire centred chiefly on the music of Mozart and has travelled extensively throughout Europe.
Harald Nerat studied viola, composing and conducting at the Vienna Academy for Music and the Arts. His subsequent positions included that of principal viola in the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and the Johann Strauss Orchestra of Vienna, as well as section leader in the Vienna Volksoper. >
Harald Nerat has been a member of the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg since 1979 and in 1986 instituted the Salzburg Mozart Serenades with over 80 concerts each year.