“A little night music” or “A little serenade” contains several of Mozart’s most well known melodies. These are the kinds of melodies that people know even without having heard the rest or even knowing that Mozart wrote them.
It’s been years since I’ve listened to this deliberately, so I’m looking forward to revisiting it.
Yet again, it’s the Hagen Quartet with Alois Posch on the double bass (I assume).
Serenade in G “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” K. 525
- Instantly recognizable.
- Lots of crescendos leading to silence.
- I enjoy the quicker grace notes here. I’m so used to hearing a string orchestra play this, and there’s lots to enjoy from hearing a smaller group play it.
- Those double stops are one such example. They really stick out here.
- Ah, and there’s a triple stop in the first violin. I hadn’t caught that before.
- Lots of tremolo here. In the previous two quartets, there was none to speak of, and here’s it’s everywhere.
- Very light. Very intimate. Phrases fade to nothingness. Delicate.
- Some imitative entrances in the B section. Nothing too crazy.
- Coda is almost like a lullaby.
- I do enjoy the chromaticism in the trio by the first violin. Very slippery.
- Minuet opens with upward arpeggio. A la first movement?
- Very active middle voices.
- Kind of a churning feeling throughout. Hectic almost.
- Not tremolo, just a steady eighth note pulse.
- Second violin for the in-coda double stop win. Love that.
This is a popular piece for a reason. Although I don’t find it particularly adventurous, it’s very very solid. It has several hummable melodies. It’s fun. It’s even exciting during the first and fourth movements. When I was considering listening to this today, I began singing that first melody, and my wife Rebekah started singing it right along with me. It works.
If I perceived any standout musical choices (besides those I’ve mentioned in other works), it would be the heavy use of tremolo in the first movement and the regular use of double and triple stops. This piece is often played by larger string groups that can divide up the voices, but in a quintet or quartet, the first and second violins are tasked with playing several voices at once, and this gives many of the chords a slightly delayed and harsher tone than a larger ensemble would have. I like this because it feels rawer and more intimate.
Until next time.