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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66887
Recording details: February 1996
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Release date: November 1996
Total duration: 24 minutes 6 seconds

'This disc, full of imaginative and musicianly playing, can be firmly recommended' (Gramophone)

'One of the most enjoyable records of Mozart's wind music to appear for a long time. A delight!' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

Serenade No 11 in E flat major, K375

Allegro maestoso  [7'18]
Menuetto I  [4'20]
Adagio  [5'33]
Menuetto II  [3'17]
Allegro  [3'38]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The E flat Serenade was a subject of second thoughts. The first version was for pairs of clarinets, horns, and bassoons, but within a short while the Viennese court established a wind octet which added oboes to this line-up. In desperate haste (as the autograph manuscript reveals) Mozart rewrote the work, introducing structural changes and skilfully integrating oboes into the score. Doubtless he was anxious to display his abilities to the emperor in the (vain) hope of a permanent appointment at court, since he had broken off relations with the Archbishop of Salzburg, his supercilious and overbearing former employer.

In overall layout the serenade follows early Haydn examples: a slow movement framed by two minuets, the whole framed by two fast movements. A marching rhythm – a typical Mozart opening – begins the ‘Allegro maestoso’, but untypical elements soon appear, among them the lack of exposition repeat and the short, somewhat vague, development. Stranger still, the second subject is replaced in the recapitulation by a curious episode announced by horn solo. Mozart rarely did anything without good reason, but these departures from convention seem quite unreasonable. A magical quiet coda, however, makes amends.

The two minuets differ one from the other in style. The first opens with a strikingly ceremonial unison, the second with a smooth clarinet solo leading to playful episodes. Their respective trio sections also offer strong contrasts, that of Minuet I displaying a pleasing character with pulsating horns, while pulsating bassoons accompany a kind of country dance as a centrepiece of Minuet II. Between these minuets lies a seductive Adagio which in melody, harmony, and instrumental resource, holds a place amongst Mozart’s finest inspirations. A high-spirited Rondo with virtuoso episodes closes the work. Mozart’s sly wit delays the third statement of the rondo theme for so long that one wonders whether it will ever reappear.

from notes by Robert Dearling © 1996

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