Hyperion Records

Piano Quartet in E flat major, K493
composer
3 June 1786

Recordings
'Mozart: Piano Quartets' (CDA67373)
Mozart: Piano Quartets
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67373  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Mozart: Piano Quartets' (CDA30011)
Mozart: Piano Quartets
Buy by post £8.50 CDA30011  Hyperion 30th Anniversary series   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Details
Movement 1: Allegro
Track 4 on CDA30011 [14'41] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 4 on CDA67373 [14'41]
Movement 2: Larghetto
Track 5 on CDA30011 [9'30] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 5 on CDA67373 [9'30]
Movement 3: Allegretto
Track 6 on CDA30011 [9'03] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 6 on CDA67373 [9'03]

Piano Quartet in E flat major, K493
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Typically of Mozart in E flat, the Quartet K493 is a far more mellow and genial work with, in the first movement, something of the relaxed grandeur of the recently composed E flat Piano Concerto, K482. As in the concerto, the first movement has an almost reckless profusion of lyrical themes, which expand and proliferate at leisure. Most pervasive and influential is the theme that establishes the dominant key, B flat, initiated by the piano and immediately echoed by the violin. This idea fertilises the whole of the widely modulating development (moving from B flat minor and D flat major as far afield as D minor), where strings engage in close imitative dialogue against a background of rapid keyboard scales and arpeggios—a common texture in Mozart’s piano concertos. When this theme reappears in the recapitulation on violin and viola, with the cello following in imitation, it again starts in B flat—all wrong for this point in the movement—before the piano smoothly restores the home key of E flat. This ‘wrong key’ entry in the recapitulation demands a resolution in the coda, where the strings reiterate the theme in three-part canon with the simplest tonic and dominant harmony.

The A flat Larghetto, in full sonata form, shares the warmth and chromatic richness of the G minor Quartet’s Andante. But it is a more intense, less decorative, movement, with an impassioned development that begins with a dramatic re-interpretation of the opening phrase—a moment echoed, with another new twist, at the start of the coda. Mozart’s sketches reveal that he discarded two drafts of the finale’s gavotte-like theme before arriving at a version that satisfied him. Again there is an abundance of graceful and piquant melody, though the movement’s chief protagonist is an idea that at first seems to be merely transitional: a brusque unison for the three strings answered by a pleading syncopated phrase on the piano. This idea is rarely absent for long, chromatically expanded just before the initial return of the main theme and, in an echo of the first movement, sounded in close canonic imitation in the coda.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2003

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67373 track 5
Larghetto
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-03-37305
Duration
9'30
Recording date
8 December 2002
Recording venue
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon
Hyperion usage
  1. Mozart: Piano Quartets (CDA30011)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: October 2010
    Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
  2. Mozart: Piano Quartets (CDA67373)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: May 2003
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