Requiem in D minor, K. 626
Sir Neville Marriner leading the Academy and Chorus of St Martin in the Fields.
Today, I’m listening to Mozart’s String Quartet no. 1, which he apparently composed when he was fourteen. I find the fact of it amazing, but I don’t really know the piece, so let’s dive in.
I’m listening to the Hagen Quartet.
This is attractive but clearly early. It’s simple in a way that I haven’t heard in the other pieces, even the “Sonata facile”. Naturally, with good players, the piece is still worth listening to and very enjoyable. There are a lot of terrific ideas, and some of his writing makes me think of later work, such as “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”.
I’m getting a late start on this, so I figured I’d listen to something a little shorter. “Sonata Facile” would be Italian for “easy sonata”, though when playing Mozart, the idea of “easy” is relative.
Again, I’ll be listening to Mitsuko Uchida. I’ve been very impressed with her other recordings so far, so I’ll stick with what I know.
Apple Music Again, if you open this on your computer, it will take you to iTunes to buy the album. If you open it on your phone, it takes you to Apple Music. Weird system.
Spotify The exact same album isn’t available on both platforms, but it may well be the same recording
YouTube works, but it probably pays the artist less, so if possible, try to use one of the streaming services
I think the main takeaway about a piece like this is that a composer like Mozart and a player like Mitsuko Uchida can do a lot with relatively little. That and Mozart was a master of melodies.
Until next time.
Today, I’m treating myself for having made it seven days into this by listening to a piece that I know I like and is one of the pieces that I immediately draw to mind when I think about Mozart’s supposed “greatness”. This is based almost entirely on one moment, though I enjoy the rest as well.
I’m returning to the previous piano concerto recordings by Mitsuko Uchida on the piano with the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jeffrey Tate.
Apple Music If you open this link on your PC, it takes you to the iTunes page. If you open on your phone it takes you to Apple Music
The use of a pulsing rhythm in the first two movements creates a sense of tension. It’s there also a bit in the third movement (especially in the coda), but it’s so prominent earlier in the concerto that it feels deliberate.
The use of sequences is also very effective, especially in the first movement. This is when a series of notes or harmonies is repeated in modulation, which is often then modulated several times itself. They were also prominent in the finale of Symphony 41, though of course they’re everywhere in classical music due to their usefulness and novelty. Here though, the effect – on me at least – is very powerful.
I now wonder if many of the melodies from the concerto as a whole were inspired by Mozart’s starling.
If you listen, then I hope you enjoy it!
Image by Noel Feans used on Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license
The film Amadeus featured one of the movements from this much larger work, and now I’m going to take the time to actually listen to that entire work.
I’ll be listening to the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields led by Sir Neville Marriner.
Cool piece all around. Like yesterday, this is a case where the instrumentation is novel in and of itself. The compositional choices are compelling though.
One overriding idea that I caught was a kind of tension between the oboe and clarinet as if the piece has them playing off of one another, and only at the end do they play their melodies together. At many points there are mini instrument groups of shifting composition, which are then answered by either the entire ensemble or by other mini group. The clarinets and basset horns are one such mini group.
Anyway, that’s a very compelling piece. Until next time.