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