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Hyperion Records

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The Quartet by Louis Carrogis Carmontelle (1717-1806)
Musée Condé, Chantilly, France / Giraudon / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDH55390
Recording details: February 2001
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: November 2001
Total duration: 18 minutes 39 seconds

'Ravishingly delightful' (American Record Guide)

'Anyone interested in this particular program is unlikely to be anything but delighted with this disc' (Fanfare, USA)

Horn Quintet in E flat major, K407
? late 1782

Allegro  [8'57]
Andante  [5'47]
Rondo: Allegro  [3'55]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Horn Quintet, K407, is somewhat unconventional in its scoring for horn, violin, two violas and cello. Mozart may have felt the balance worked better with more lower strings, and it is acknowledged that his string quintets with two violas are among his greatest works. It is also known that the viola was his favourite stringed instrument and the one he chose when playing quartets himself.

As with the Oboe Quartet, it seems that Mozart had a particular player in mind for K407: in this case Joseph Leutgeb, a long-standing friend of the composer and the butt of some of his jokes. In 1777 Leutgeb had moved to Vienna where he carried on his wife’s family’s business as a cheesemonger, combining it with his musical career. He is understood to have retired from playing in 1792, eventually dying in 1811. In addition to K407 Mozart also composed the four horn concertos for Leutgeb and, as in the works for Ramm, the music indicates the artistry of the player concerned. The writing for horn often combines a certain humour with an obvious affection for the instrument and its practitioner. This is evident in the Quintet: the gentle, almost Romantic Andante has some real chamber-music writing and is flanked by lighter-hearted movements in a more concertante style.

The Horn Quintet probably dates from late in 1782, a happy year for Mozart which, in the summer, saw the successful premiere of his opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail and, a few weeks later, his wedding to Constanze Weber.

from notes by Sally Odom © 2001

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