Hyperion Records

Serenade No 12 in C minor, K388

'Mozart: Wind Serenades' (CDA66887)
Mozart: Wind Serenades
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66887  Archive Service  
Movement 1: Allegro
Track 8 on CDA66887 [11'08] Archive Service
Movement 2: Andante
Track 9 on CDA66887 [3'57] Archive Service
Movement 3: Minuetto in Canone
Track 10 on CDA66887 [4'43] Archive Service
Movement 4: Allegro
Track 11 on CDA66887 [6'34] Archive Service

Serenade No 12 in C minor, K388
Serenades are meant for easy, albeit attentive, listening. So what is K388 doing in C minor, a key for which Mozart reserved his most severe, tragic utterances? Conceived from the start in full octet scoring, this extraordinary work exhibits the characteristics of a Sturm und Drang symphony, even down to its four-movement pattern. The opening is uncompromisingly tragic, even angry, with relief coming only in the melodious major-keyed second subject, announced by oboe. At least the formal exposition repeat is present, and the development, for all its severity, is of a length to preserve traditional sonata-form proportions. Minor tonality is maintained throughout the recapitulation, even for the second subject. Balm comes in the Andante, a lyrical 3/8 movement in E flat.

Mozart’s friend Joseph Haydn probably provided the influence for the last two movements. Described as ‘Menuetto in Canone’, the third follows Haydn’s precedent in Symphony No 44 (another minor-keyed work, though in E minor) in being in strict canon, while the trio provides an inverted answer to the oboe’s theme. Such contrapuntal fireworks are rare in Mozart and unheard of in other ‘entertainment’ music of the serenade/divertimento kind. The composer was determined that his listeners should really listen! For the finale he turns to another Haydn device: variations. He even comes close to borrowing a Haydn theme (Symphony No 42, finale, also variations) but treats it rather differently. An intriguing succession of variations explores unusual instrumental combinations in which every member of the octet enjoys moments of glory. A last-moment gesture to relieve tension: the final variation is in the major.

This serenade, like K375, was also the subject of second thoughts, for in the spring of 1787 Mozart rescored it for string quintet (K406). For this recording of the original wind version the Camden Music Original Mozart Edition was used. It corrects some 350 errors which had crept into earlier editions by Breitkopf und Härtel and others. Mozart’s final page of the autograph is missing. For this edition Camden Music reconstructed it from the string quintet version.

from notes by Robert Dearling © 1996

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA66887 track 10
Minuetto in Canone
Recording date
16 February 1996
Recording venue
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Recording engineer
Hyperion usage
  1. Mozart: Wind Serenades (CDA66887)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: November 1996
    Deletion date: July 2002
    Archive Service
  2. Mozart: Wind Serenades (CDH55092)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: July 2002
    Deletion date: April 2009
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Superseded by CDA66887
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