Composed by

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Jan 1756 - Dec 1791) in 1781

Duration

Approx. 50 mins

Instrumentation

2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 basset horns, 4 horn in F, 1 string bass

This harmoniemusik, which was specially composed for a public concert given by Anton Stadler in 1784, is famous for its perfect harmony and soft melodic line. It is a piece with texture, which is attributed to the use of unique combinations of instruments of the era, scoring, rhythm and articulation. In addition to the usual harmonie ensemble of two oboes, two clarinets, two horns, and two bassoons, Mozart adds two more horns, a pair of basset horns, and a string bass.

This composition is divided into 7 movements:

Movement I, Largo-Molto Allegro – The first movement begins with a slow introduction and leads into the Allegro Moderato section, which is in monothematic sonata form. The first theme is played by the clarinets, later taken over by the basset horns and the oboes in a modified form as the second theme.

Movement II, Menuetto – The second movement features a minuet and two contrasting trio sections. In the minuet section, all instruments are used extensively. The first trio employs only the clarinets and basset horns and leads into a repeat of the minuet section. The second trio uses the solo oboe, the basset horn and the bassoon extensively.

Movement III, Adagio – The third movement is a lovely tune showcasing a conversation among three soloist friends, namely the oboe, the clarinet, and the basset horn. A syncopated pulse occurs almost throughout the movement while the solo lines alternate between the solo oboe, the clarinet and the basset horn.

Movement IV, Menuetto-Allegretto – The fourth movement has two trio sections, just like the second movement. The first trio, by contrast, has fewer staccato notes and is in the parallel minor, B-flat minor. After the minuet section is repeated, the second trio is played in F major.

Movement V, Romance-Adagio – The fifth movement returns to the slow tempo, beginning and ending with an Adagio section in the tonic and the triple meter, and with many long notes in the melody. Between the beginning and the ending, a Allegretto section showcases a contrast with a constant pulse in the bassoons.

Movement VI, Tema con variazioni – The sixth movement is a set of six variations in andante theme, primarily presented by the solo clarinet. The variations make use of various rhythmic motives and often feature solo instruments.

Movement VII. Finale: Molto Allegro – The final movement is a rondo with many tutti passages where the oboes and the clarinets play in unison. The episodes between the returns of the theme feature a greater degree of interplay amongst its instruments.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Recorded on 31 March 2019