I think it would be a correct assumption to say all of us have heard at least one piece of music by Mozart. His musical output contains some the finest and most glorious melodies and musical ideas ever composed. Mozart’s music essentially defines the ‘classical style’: the singing melodies, light accompaniment, the excellence of form and symmetry, and above all the perfection in design. There are many reasons to love Mozart, and I explored these last’s year final blog, but now I thought I’d give you, the dear reader, some deeper insight into why we can’t resist Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet:
1. It was the first Clarinet Quintet ever composed! At this time the clarinet was a fairly new instrument to the orchestra and Mozart had heard it played within the context of a symphony orchestra. He loved it so much he wrote to his father rather excited about the possibilities of this ‘new’ instrument. It wasn’t until Brahms wrote another Clarinet Quintet that the next landmark worth for this instrumental combination was created.
2. Mozart composed it for his dear friend, Anton Stadler. Mozart and Stadler were great friends. Even when Mozart was poor himself he would lend Stadler money (who was always broke). The work was inspired by Stadler’s playing which was often commented on for his beautiful tone. Mozart also wrote the work for basset clarinet (which David Rowden also performs on), which is a third lower than an extended clarinet, offering a wide range of tone colours.
3. The music itself is stunningly gorgeous. The slow movement is indeed one of the heart melting melodies that we have come to love from Mozart. The work is set in the key of A major, a key signature associated with love and tenderness. Christian Schubart, in his seminal work Ideen zu einer Aesthetik der Tonkunst (Ideas for the aesthetic of Tonal Art), writes of A Major: “This key includes declarations of innocent love, satisfaction with one's state of affairs; hope of seeing one's beloved again when parting; youthful cheerfulness and trust in God.” Mozart himself associated the key of A Major with “sweetness and lyrical expression.”
4. It’s got the best of both worlds, a string quartet with a clarinet. What could be better than having the par excellence of chamber music (the string quartet) mixed in with the beautiful and lyrical tone of the basset clarinet is the perfect combination of sound worlds and makes one of the ultimate musical ensembles for chamber music.
5. It’s a musical conversation amongst friends. The writing for the Clarinet Quintet is fully integrated with each voice of the ensemble having a turn throughout the work, rather than having the strings simply accompanying the clarinet. It’s the perfect piece of music to demonstrate a musical conversation, and that’s what Omega Ensemble is all about. In fact Mozart played viola in the premiere performance of the Clarinet Quintet. Indeed a true musical conversation between friends.
On Valentine's Day, there is a whole lot of love in the air and what better way to express love than with music. Treat your love to a beautiful afternoon of the finest music ever composed with the serene setting of Sydney Harbour as you experience Omega Ensemble presenting the most glorious masterpieces of classical music.
For 48 hours only, Omega Ensemble is offering a 2 for 1 special for their Master Series concerts. Join Omega Ensemble's e-newsletters to receive the exclusive links to this offer.
You can also experience the beauty of Mozart and indulge your love with chamber music right in your own home. Omega recently recorded Mozart's Clarinet Quintet on their debut album recording featuring Artistic Director David Rowden on the basset clarinet for which the work was originally written.We would love to see you at the concert and to come and experience Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet and other works celebrating the glories and highlights of classical music. You’ll also get to hear a brand new work by Omega’s resident bassoonist and often commissioned composer, Ben Hoadley called Broken Songs written for David Rowden (just like the Mozart and Stadler friendship).
Don’t forget you can get your fix of Omega Ensemble anytime by visiting Omega's On Demand section. Watch and listen to our past performances online then come and enjoy new ones in our 2017 concert series. To stay up to date with all the latest news and information about concerts and performances sign up to our newsletter here.
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