|Amadeus at his best – According to Mozart|
a paper by Marius Flothuis
from the book:
Mozart and the Netherlands (p. 73)
This paper with other four in this book (presented here by The Keyboard Bugler) is a paper dedicated to the technique of the keyboard playing and/or to the keyboard repertoire by Mozart.
The experiments of Mozart with piano concertos and winds
With a 18th century provocative statement Flothuis calls the technique of Mozart applied to the works with piano of year 1784 as a Declaration of the Rights of Wind Instruments.
In particular the Piano Quintet K452, written for a new combination of instruments, seems to be considered by Mozart the best work of music he has ever written in his life. So did Mozart write in his letter 10 April 1784: «I for myself believe that it [i.e. K452] is the best I have written to date».
The new combination of instruments is: 1 oboe (played by unknown), 1 clarinet (probably played by A. Stadler), 1 horn (probably played by J. Leutgeb), 1 bassoon (played by unknown), which sing in combination with a piano.
Evidently Mozart was working on some new musical possibilities by giving the winds section a new independent importance in the musical context and, in this case, in an magnificent dialogue with the keyboard/the piano. In fact, as Flothuis points out, Mozart had already tried such revolutionary combinations in his Piano Concerto K450.
The kind of path followed by Mozart with these experiments of powerful, characterized and independent winds section in his piano production (concertos and chamber music) will eventually end in the orchestration of the later symphonies and will have a great influence on other composers, like Haydn and P. Wranitzky, whose 1790s symphonies will feature fundamental and heavily structured/characterized winds sections.
This winds revolution developed and carried on by Mozart in the 1780s, in the end, will affect also Beethoven and his style of orchestration.
In his paper, Flothuis explains how this Quintet K452 (a sort of Piano Concerto without Strings Section) by Mozart left a great impression (also technically speaking) on Beethoven, who will try to emulate this Mozart at his best through his Quintet Op. 16 (1796/1797).
To comprehend how revolutionary the thought of Mozart on this treatment of the winds in ensemble was, we must consider that certain critics and detractors of the group linked to the Haydn/Mozart circle often declared that the symphonic writing by Mozart, Haydn, P. Wranitzky and Beethoven was too noisy and more similar to a Harmoniemusik (due to the independent and too characterized treatment of the winds sections) than to a real classical symphonic texture.
And we must not forget that we are talking about a social and critical context (that of the 18th century, within which Mozart, Haydn, Wranitzky and, in part, Beethoven worked), where the Waltz was considered an obscene and immoral dance to be forbidden, the Sturm und Drang music too passionate and violent and socially/politically dangerous and the Menuet symphonic movements too frivolous to be a serious section for a symphony, which should be, instead, full of dignity...
Mozart: Quintet K. 452 & Beethoven: Quintet Op. 16:
Murray Perahia (Lili Kraus's Angel) and English Chamber Orchestra Soloists
Mozart: Quintet K. 452 & Beethoven: Quintet Op. 16
S. & L.M. Jennarelli