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Name of Work

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-1791)
String Quintet in D Major, K. 593 (2010)

Movements:
Larghetto - Allegro
Adagio
Minuet: Allegretto
Allegro

Performances:


Mar 21, 2010



Jasmine Lin, Violin
Joseph Genualdi, Viola
Rami Solomonow, Viola
Robert Swan, Viola
Stephen Balderston, Cello


Mar 22, 2010



Jasmine Lin, Violin
Joseph Genualdi, Viola
Rami Solomonow, Viola
Robert Swan, Viola
Stephen Balderston, Cello

MOZART - String Quintet in D Major, K 593

Composed in 1790

Writing about the slow introduction to the first movement of the Quintet K 593, Mozart biographer Alfred Einstein says: "[It] juxtaposes the cello (Mozart has not completely forgotten the King of Prussia0 and the group of higher instruments; question and answer are repeated at once on a higher step of the scale." His reference to the Prussian king, Frederick William, is a hint about what may have been Mozart's impetus to create a group of string quintets in the year 1787. Frederick William played the cello and naturally sought out music featuring his instrument. If Mozart did ever intend to present the king with his 1787 quintets -- K 515 and 516 plus an arrangement of an earlier piece -- the plan didn't pan out; he had to sell them for cash. His reason for returning to the quintet medium in 1790, with K 593 and its companion, K 614, was probably a commission from the wealthy violinist-merchant Johann Tost, who was also associated with Haydn.

The somewhat mysterious-sounding Larghetto introduction sets a kind of emotional stage for K 593 as a whole, with its broad range of paces and moods. The main portion of the sonata-form Allegro has an assertive march-like theme, followed by triplet passages that lead to a sequence of emphatic chords. The second theme is derived from the original march motive. Thus is created an essentially monothematic movement, but that one theme has enough contrasted elements to give many possibilities for development. Moreover, by varying the first theme right away, Mozart has in effect started the development section a little early. The development proper breaks down and thoroughly elaborates the march, triplet, and chordal components already laid out. In the recapitulation, the related main themes are restated with some changes in the arrangement of the voices. Then to bring us full circle, the introductory Larghetto reappears, followed by a final decisive playing of the march.

Mozart uses sonata form again in the Adagio. The lyrical, contemplative first theme is in G Major -- subdominant of D Major. It's succeeded by an intensely-felt theme in D Minor, shared by the first violin and the cello, the innder voices accompanying it with agitated triplets. The first theme is the main source for the development section, full of complex harmonies. Further rich elaborations of both themes characterize the recapitulation. The intense emotions of this Adagio have led to comparisons with the slow movement of the "Jupiter" Symphony, whose exact composition date is still unknown, but which may have originated about the same time as the quintet.

In the "Allegretto" Mozart lightens the atmosphere and plays some tricks with counterpoint. The chordal main theme of the Minuet portion leads quickly to a canon at the octave, led by the violins, with the three lower instruments responding. The Trio portion is based on arpeggios. There's more contrapuntal interest to come in the finale, whose second theme is structured as a fugato. The movement's meter is 6/8 and recalls the lively Gigue dance rhythm. The energetic first theme is accompanied by a kind of drone bass, which becomes a feature of the development section. Once again the "Jupiter" Symphony comes to mind: the finales of symphony and quintet share an intermingling of high spirits, rhythmic energy, and fugal procedures fused with sonata-allegro.

Program Notes by Andrea Lamoreaux

Performed March 21 & 22, 2010



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