MOZART: Serenade No. 10, 'Gran Partita' (German Wind Soloists) (Naxos: 8.550060)
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756.1791)
Serenade in B Flat, K. 361 (Gran Partita)
Menuetto - Trio I & II
Menuetto: Allegretto - Trio I & II
Theme with variations
Rondo. Allegro molto
The early career ofMozart as an infant prodigy had taken him to the leading cities of Europe andaccustomed him to the admiration of the great, the famous and those who weresimply curious. Leopold Mozart, who was to become and to remainVice-Kapellmeister to the Archbishop of Salzburg, sacrificed his own career andambitions to the genius of his son, teaching him and then arranging his careerfor him, hoping always for some material recognition for what seemed to him amiraculous gift of God.
In the eventmaterial ambitions remained largely unrealised. In adolescence Mozart foundhimself tied to the Salzburg court, and his excursion to Paris in 1777 and1778, unaccompanied by his father, provided nothing to his advantage, whilebringing him into contact with the Weber family, a connection that was to provedistinctly disadvantageous when he was, in 1782, inveigled into marriage withKonstanze Weber, after being jilted by her elder sister.
It was in 1781 thatMozart broke his ties with Salzburg and, to some extent, with his father. Duringthe course of a visit to Vienna, as a member of the household of the Archbishopof Salzburg, Count Hieronymus von Colloredo, he quarrelled with his patron andsecured his immediate dismissal. There was now no question of returning toSalzburg and to his father. Lured, perhaps, by the initial enthusiasm of themusical public in Vienna, he stayed there, winning early success in theopera-house and with a series of piano concertos. His fortunes were to take aturn for the worse towards the end of the decade, but seemed to recover withthe popular success of The Magic Flute, which was running at the time of hissudden death in 1791.
The Serenade in BFlat, K. 361, known sometimes as the Gran Partita from a later, misspeltaddition to the title-page of the autograph, seems to have been written in 1783and 1784, rather than in 1781, as Alfred Einstein supposed. The first referenceto the Serenade occurs in accounts of a concert given by the clarinettist AntonStadler on 23rd March 1784. Johann Friedrich Schink, who was present, hasunreserved praise for the playing of Stadler and for Mozart's composition,listing the thirteen instruments involved, but mentioning only four movements.
There is no doubt that Schink is referring to the B flat Serenade, and we may presumethat only four of the movements were played at Stadler's concert.
The Serenade isscored for two oboes, two clarinets, two basset-horns, four horns, two bassoonsand double-bass and is in eight movements. The first of these opens with animposing introduction, leading to an Allegro, with constant variations in thegrouping instruments, among which the clarinets are usually prominent.
The first Minuethas a first Trio scored for clarinets and basset-horns, and a second using thewhole ensemble, with a lively part for the first bassoon. There follows anAdagio in which the poignant melody is shared by the instruments, the firstoboe phrase capped by the clarinet and followed by the basset-horn.
The second Minuethas a first Trio in B flat minor and a second in F. It is followed by aRomance, its opening Adagio proceeding to an Allegretto basset-horn duet. TheTheme and Variations that make up the seventh movement allow the first clarinetto announce the theme. The first variation, a triplet version of the theme, isfollowed by a second in which basset-horn and bassoon at first combine. In thethird variation the two clarinets illustrate the two registers of theinstrument, the flute-like upper notes and lower, chalumeau register, used inaccompaniment, as it is in the Trio of the E flat Symphony of 1788. The fourthvariation is in B flat minor, the fifth an Adagio and the sixth a livelyconclusion. The last movement, a cheerful rondo, has all the brilliance of anoperatic finale, in which the soloists still have their own characteristiccomments to make.
German Wind Soloists
Manfred Clement (oboe)
Ulf Rodenhauser (clarinet)
Gerd Starke (clarinet)
Joachim Olszewski (basset-horn)
Reinhold Helbich (basset-horn)
Marie-Louise Neunecker (French horn)
Ralf Springmann (French horn)
Wolfgang Gaag (French horn)
G??nter Weber (French horn)
Klaus Thunemann (bassoon)
Eberhard Marschall (bassoon)
Klaus Stoll (double bass)
The German WindSoloists is an ensemble formed by some of the most distinguished wind-playersin Germany, all of whom have played with the best known orchestras in thecountry, the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Berlin RadioSymphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic and others, while also serving asprofessors at major conservatories, including those of Munich, Stuttgart,Cologne and Hanover. The repertoire of the ensemble has at its heart theHarmoniemusik wind music for octet, of the classical period, while alsoincluding later works from the composers of the 19th century such as Lachnerand Reinecke, and of Brahms, Dvorak and Richard Strauss. The German WindSoloists have achieved considerable success in many concert appearances and inthe recording studio.