Mozart 4 Contredanses in F major (Serenade No. 2), K. 101

performed by the Wiener Mozart Ensemble under Wili Boskovsky

(cover image by Aaron Burden)

If YouTube video descriptions are to be believed (and that is one of the only sources of information I have about this work), then we are told by the uploader (?) of the above video that the gavottes that bookend this work, both in F major, were written by Leopold, not Wolfgang Amadeus, Mozart.

  1. Contredanse in F major
  2. Contredanse in G major
  3. Contredanse in D major
  4. Contredanse in F major

The gavotte is a French dance, in common time, and usually (at least usually at some point) began on the third beat of the bar. The most notable feature, to me, of this first movement, the provenance of which is called into question by the video description, is that it has a perfect cadence at least three times, closing again and again, in I guess what could be considered a coda.

The G major contredanse sounds much more serenade-like. It’s intimate, tender, and has plucked strings behind the melody, contrasting with a faster central portion. The third piece/movement, in D, is the shortest and liveliest, at under a minute in duration, and is… simple. I keep expecting there to be a minuet or something in triple meter, but nope.

The finale is also a gavotte, ostensibly, if the above uploader is to be believed, also composed by father Mozart, not son, but (as visible from the video comments) this does raise questions about why on earth Leopold would have his hand in such a composition in 1776, when the composer was already out of his teens (or very close).

My guess, and I’m open to actual information, was that maybe it was a much earlier piece dug up and published later, but although it’s numbered as the second serenade, the piece is also dated as 1776, putting it around the time of the sixth and seventh serenades, and divertimenti 9-13.

That being said, it really doesn’t strike me much like the layout of either of those forms, at least not the other ones we’ve discussed. It’s a little collection of four very short dances, no andante or minuet, no sonata form movements or a closing rondo. It feels like an afterthought, or a set of deleted scenes or something.

So that’s all. Bigger, more exciting, and informative, stuff to come in the next few days before we say goodbye to Mozart for a little while, so stay tuned for that and thanks so much for reading.

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