performed by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields under Sir Neville Marriner, or below by the Camerata Academica des Mozarteums Salzburg (now known as the Camerata Salzburg) under Sándor Végh
(cover image by Karl)
I should say that I’m really trying to do these in order, the Mozart pieces. I made extensive lists of dates of completion or performance, but beyond that, couldn’t be bothered to verify those sources (IMSLP, Wikipedia, AllMusic, etc.). Some of these pieces, as we shall see, are at least a little bit more dubious in their origins than others.
Michael Morrison at AllMusic gives us a bit of insight into the sometimes-subtitle for this work:
Most probably, it was composed, originally as an orchestral serenade, as a salute to a family friend, Judas Thaddäus Antretter, who was completing his fourth year at Salzburg University.
The piece dates from 1773, and is in eight movements, as follows, with a duration of at least 35 minutes, depending on repeats taken, I guess:
- Allegro assai
- Menuetto & Trio
- Andante grazioso
- Menuetto & Trio 1, 2
- Allegro assai
The first movement is in sonata form with a coda, and is noticeably heavier than the K. 100 opening, perhaps for the formality of the occasion. In fact, I’d say it’s almost clunky and awkward for the time, but it does get off the ground in a charming way. Morrison says that “Mozart allows the pomp of academic ceremony, generously mixed with jubilation, to drive the music.”
The second movement is far more magical, or “less pompous” as Morrison puts it. It strikes me as aria-like, with the composer not trying so hard, so the result is far more endearing, with a violin solo, even.
The third movement brings us back to an allegro marking, and a “stomping theme” that I don’t find very stompy, but we have more violin, so that’s a plus. The fourth movement is a minuet and trio, the latter of which is interesting for being scored for flute, viola and basses.
The fifth movement takes us to a ‘graceful’ slow movement. It is indeed softer, more polite, and more like the maturity we might hear from the central movement of a piano concerto much later than this work. It’s charming and delicate and beautiful, and leads into the second minuet, a bold, confident thing, with a first trio section in a shady D minor featuring another violin solo. The second trio is for the full ensemble. This movement seems more sincere than just background music, which most of these forms were.
The seventh movement, or seventh and eighth, depending on who you ask, is really one movement, and it appears tracked that way considering the adagio is a mere 11 bars before jumping into the allegro assai. Even then, the adagio doesn’t so much sound that way; it’s quite heavy handed, but adagio is a marking of tempo, not weight. These last two (or three) movements are the most memorable of the entire work, and I suppose this is the not-quite-late 18th century equivalent of ending with a bang. This is the most satisfying of all the installments in this set, and reaches the kind of deeply satisfying sense of perfection that we hear in even greater abundance in the later works, and almost everything Mozart wrote is later work than this.
Again, there’s not much I want to discuss here in these pieces with regards to the analytical aspects of the works. The pieces were written for specific occasions, so this one for example, gets a bit of the pomp of ‘finale’ music that may go with such an occasion. They won’t all be this way, though. This one is quite a bit longer than some of the others, but if I haven’t said it already, these forms are some of the only classical music I’ll play as background music because that’s what they were originally intended to be, and the straightforwardness of the pieces bear that out.
We’ll be seeing a Mozart article every day this week, if I can get caught up with writing them all, and then we’ll see a little bit of the early 19th century before moving on to something much more modern, so please stay tuned for all of that and thanks so much for reading!