Hyperion Records

Quintet for piano and wind in E flat major, K452
30 March 1784; first performed in 1 April at the Vienna Burgtheatre with Mozart at the piano

'Mozart: Oboe Quartet, Horn Quintet & other works' (CDH55390)
Mozart: Oboe Quartet, Horn Quintet & other works
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55390  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Movement 1: Largo – Allegro moderato
Track 8 on CDH55390 [10'32] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 2: Larghetto
Track 9 on CDH55390 [8'34] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 3: Rondo: Allegretto
Track 10 on CDH55390 [5'55] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Quintet for piano and wind in E flat major, K452
The Quintet in E flat major for piano, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon, K452, dated 30 March 1784 by the composer, was given its first performance on 1 April at the Burgtheater with Mozart himself at the piano. Some days later he wrote to his father about this benefit concert, commenting on the beauty of the performance and saying he considered the Quintet the best work he had produced.

Despite this opinion, K452 is in fact Mozart’s only quintet with piano, and the combination of instruments used is itself unusual. Single wind, as opposed to pairs, pose problems of blend so he explores the numerous different permutations of instruments to produce different sonorities, and uses short phrases and motifs for variety. No instrument is given preferential treatment and, despite occasional concertante-type passages, the basic chamber-music character is maintained.

Of the three movements, the first has fewest bars and comprises an expressive Largo introduction which leads into the happy Allegro moderato. The opening bars of the B flat major Larghetto are very reminiscent of the middle section of Leporello’s ‘catalogue’ aria from Don Giovanni, and there are some particularly beautiful moments later when the different groupings of the wind are accompanied by arpeggio patterns on the piano. The finale is a rondo with, near the end, a written-out cadenza for all five instruments.

Mozart had set himself a difficult task in writing for the combination of oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon and piano—that he succeeded is without question. The achievement was recognized by Beethoven who admired the work and, in 1796–7, wrote his opus 16 for the same forces.<.p>

from notes by Sally Odom © 2001

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