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Name of Work

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-1791)
Serenade for Two Oboes, Two Clarinets, Two Horns and Two Bassoons in E-Flat Major, K. 375 (2006)

Movements:
Allegro maestoso
Menuetto I
Adagio
Menuetto II
Allegro

Performances:


Oct 08, 2006



Michael Henoch, Oboe
Jelena Dirks, Oboe
Larry Combs, Clarinet
Eddie Daniels, Clarinet
Dennis Michel, Bassoon
Lewis Kirk, Bassoon
Gail Williams, Horn
Gabrielle Webster, Horn


Oct 09, 2006



Michael Henoch, Oboe
Jelena Dirks, Oboe
Larry Combs, Clarinet
Eddie Daniels, Clarinet
Dennis Michel, Bassoon
Lewis Kirk, Bassoon
Gail Williams, Horn
Gabrielle Webster, Horn

MOZART-Serenade for Two Oboes, Two Clarinets, Two Horns and Two Bassoons in E-Flat Major, K. 375

Composed in 1781.
Premiered on October 15, 1781 in Vienna.

BACKGROUND
The Serenade for Winds in E-Flat Major (K.375), one of Mozart’s greatest works in the genre, was composed in Vienna in 1781. The composer had moved to the city only months before, and he was eagerly seeking a secure position, preferably one at the Habsburg court. He discovered that Joseph von Strack, chamberlain to the Emperor Franz Joseph II, was a daily visitor to the sister-in-law of the court painter, Joseph von Nickel, and arranged to have some of his music played at the good lady’s house on October 15th, hoping that the chamberlain would carry his reputation back to court. “So,” Mozart confided, “I wrote the Serenade rather carefully.... The six gentlemen who executed it are poor beggars who, however, play quite well together. It has won great applause, and later on the night of its premiere it was performed in three different places; for as soon as they finished playing it in one place, they were taken off somewhere else, and paid to play it again.” No position at court materialized from Mozart’s effort (no satisfactory one ever did), and he concluded that “these court flunkies are never to be trusted.” Two weeks after the first performance, on Mozart’s name-day (October 31st, the feast day of the saint after whom he was named, the 10th-century Austrian holy man Wolfgang of Ratisbon), the musicians appeared under the composer’s window, and serenaded him with this same piece “in the most pleasant fashion imaginable,” he wrote to his father. This Serenade was originally scored for six instruments — clarinets, horns and bassoons in pairs. Perhaps for Prince Aloys Liechtenstein, who wished to organize a household wind ensemble, the work was re-composed in the following year to also include two oboes. It is this version for wind octet that is usually performed today.

MUSIC
The Serenade comprises five movements, all in the bright tonic key of E-Flat Major. The opening movement, somewhat martial in character, is built around the recurrences of its main theme, a bold statement of repeated chords in long notes. This motive opens the movement, and is the gateway to the development, recapitulation and coda sections. The second movement (Menuetto I) is sweetly mellifluous in its outer sections, and expressively bittersweet in its minor-mode central trio. The Adagio, disarmingly simple and gracefully lithe, is another of Mozart’s perfect creations. Menuetto II is more charming and dance-like than its predecessor, and particularly benefits from the rich, burnished sounds of horns and bassoons. The finale is a sprightly rondo, full of sunny good spirits.

Program Notes by Dr. Richard E. Rodda

Performance date: October 8 & 9, 2006



Performance Audio

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