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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: 12 minutes 48 seconds

'Ravishingly delightful' (American Record Guide)

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

Quintet movement in F major, K580b
composer
? 1780s

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
After less than a decade of marriage Constanze Mozart was to become a widow. When her husband died in 1791 he left behind not only many completed works, but also a number of fragments, pieces set aside for whatever reason and never finished. A list of these was sent by Constanze to the Leipzig publishers Breitkopf und Härtel in 1800 with the aim of further enhancing her late husband’s reputation and protecting it against others who might try to claim the fragments as their own work. Many of these incomplete pieces eventually found their way to the Mozarteum in Salzburg but others, including the Quintet movement in F major, K580b (Anh 90), ended up in the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. This quintet is one of a small number of the fragments on Constanze’s original 1800 list to be singled out by her for special mention.

Marked Allegro, the movement, probably dates from the 1780s and is a lively and attractive movement scored for clarinet in C, basset horn, violin, viola and cello—another unusual combination of instruments. The clarinet in C is often chosen by Mozart when the key of a work is C major or F major (which here suits the basset horn), but it also has a different tone from other clarinets so instrumental colour may well have played a part in the choice. The basset horn appears not infrequently in Mozart’s music. However, it was subsequently used only rarely by composers until its revival by Richard Strauss in the first half of the twentieth century. Despite its novelty, the combination used in this quintet is a winning one and it seems quite possible that Mozart merely put the piece aside temporarily with the intention of returning to it at a later date.

The 102 bars sketched by Mozart comprise a sonata exposition, marked to be repeated. For the most part, Mozart has written a complete score, but there are a few sections where only the principal voices are indicated.

from notes by Sally Odom © 2001

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