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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDD22005
Recording details: December 1990
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: June 1991
Total duration: 28 minutes 31 seconds

'Can be commended to all but the most implacable opponents of authentic instruments … revelatory performances of this inexhaustible music' (The Good CD Guide)

'These deeply committed performances are a credit to Hyperion's distinguished list … this is Mozart at its best, contrasted, careful and passionate' (The Strad)

'Gorgeous performances of some of Mozart's chamber masterworks. Highly recommended' (Classic CD)

String Quintet in E flat major, K614
completed on 12 April 1791; published by Artaria in 1793 with the inscription Composto per un Amatore Ongharesa, possibly Johann Tost

Allegro di molto  [10'56]
Andante  [7'47]
Allegro  [5'40]

Other recordings available for download
The Nash Ensemble, Philip Dukes (viola)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Completed on 12 April 1791, the String Quintet in E flat major K614, Mozart’s last major chamber composition, is the most Haydnesque work of his maturity, perhaps a conscious homage to his friend who had left for London a few months earlier. One of the fascinating things about this work is its balance between a frankly popular, even bucolic manner (the first movement is evocative of the chase, with the violas imitating hunting horns at the outset) and a natural Mozartian grace and refinement.

The opening Allegro di molto contrasts a prevailing tone of jocular banter (the horn call is rarely absent for long) with a sinuous second theme, proposed by the first violin and repeated by the cello against veiled chromatic counterpoints in the violas—a wonderful moment of Mozartian expressive ambivalence. For his slow movement Mozart writes a popular-style Romance in gavotte rhythm, of a type familiar elsewhere in Mozart (most famously in Eine kleine Nachtmusik) and Haydn. Like many Haydn movements it fuses rondo and free variation form, with episodes that develop the dainty gavotte theme in increasingly ornate textures.

The jaunty minuet works its ubiquitous descending scale motif in ever-changing instrumental combinations before the violas finally turn it upside down—a slyly witty touch. With a nod to Haydn’s Symphony No 88, the trio presents a lolloping Ländler over a rustic drone bass. In spirit and technique, even the cut of its contredanse tune, the monothematic finale echoes another recent Haydn work, the E flat String Quartet, No 6, from the set published as Op 64. Like Haydn’s finale, it virtuosically combines the popular and (in eighteenth-century parlance) ‘learned’ styles. Brilliant sallies for the first violin and evocations of a gypsy band rub shoulders with bouts of cerebral fugal writing. Then, near the close, Mozart plays the Haydnesque trick of casually turning the melody on its head (shades here of the minuet), before the quintet ends in a volley of sardonic laughter.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2010

Other albums featuring this work
'Mozart: String Quintets' (CDA67861/3)
Mozart: String Quintets

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