Decca - 1 LP - LXT 2698 - (p) 08/1952
London - 1 LP - LL 573 - (p) 08/1952
Amadeus - 7 CDs - AMP 007-013 - (p) 2009

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Clarinet Quintet in A major, KV 581
34' 43"
- Allegro 7' 10"

- Larghetto 8' 19"

- Minuetto 7' 35"

- Allegretto con Variazioni 11' 39"

Antoine de Bavier

- Paolo Borciani, Elisa Pegreffi, violino
- Piero Farulli, viola
- Franco Rossi, violoncello


Luogo e data di registrazione
West Hampstead Studios, Londra (Inghilterra) - 18-20, 22 febbraio 1952

Registrazione: live / studio

Producer / Engineer

Matrici 78rpm
Decca - ARL 1175-76

Prima Edizione LP
Decca - LXT 2698 - (1 LP) - (p) 08/1952 - Mono
London - LL 573 - (1 LP) - (p) 08/1952 - Mono

Prima Edizione CD
Paragon/Amadeus - AMP 007-013 - [7 CDs - (3°, 8-11)] - (p) 2009 - ADD

I riferimenti a date e codici sono stati desunti dal libro "Decca Classical, 1929-2009" di Philip Stuart.

During the closing years of his life, Mozart appears to have had an especial affection for the clarinet, the outcome, possibly, of his friendship with the Viennese court musician Anton Stadler who played that instrument. The Clarinet Quintet, like the later Clarinet Concerto, was composed for Stadler and was completed in Vienna in September, 1789. It thus dates from the same period as the opera Cosė fan tutte, with whose style of melody it has a certain kinship. The time of its composition was a difficult one for Mozart. His summer tour of North Germany, which included presentations to the Elector of Saxony and the king of Prussia, had proved financially disappointing; Constanze had fallen ill, and the composer was repeatedly forced to borrow money. But there is no hint of these worries in the Clarinet Quintet which is one of the serenest of Mozart's later chamber works. Admirably written for the combination of instruments, it exploits to the full the peculiar sonorities of the clarinet which blends attractively with the string quartet, and the five participants produce some of the most engaging tonal patterns to be found in the whole corpus of the composer's chamber music.

First Movement: Allegro
The work opens with a smooth theme in four-part harmony, played by the string quartet, which is immediately followed by a phrase for the clarinet. The listener will do well to note this phrase - rising quavers answered by descending semiquavers - as it is of great importance in the development section. The opening string theme is then repeated with slight changes and the rest of the first subject section consists of florid clarinet phrases (including the one already heard) and their imitations by the stringed instruments. The more gracious second subject is given to the first violin and is later taken up by the clarinet with syncopated accompaniment, now showing a tendency to modulate. This section concludes with a cadence on the dominant (E), and a short codetta introduces another theme and a reminder of the opening string motive.
The development begins in the dominant of F major with a chromatic scale for the clarinet, leading to another statement of the opening string theme. This is immediately answered by the important clarinet theme, now given to the first violin. For the whole of the development this theme is passed about by the various stringed instruments, sometimes with its ascending quaver limb, sometimes without it, while the clarinet provides a background of quaver arpeggios. The recapitulation is shortened in some places and lengthened in others, the little codetta section being expanded to round off the movement without taking on the function of a full-dress coda.
Second Movement: Larghetto
In the beatiful larghetto Mozart takes full advantage of the clarinet's lyrical quality. The movement starts with a flowing melody for the woodwind instrument accompanied by unobtrusive chords from muted strings. The cantilena ended, clarinet and first violin engage in a lovely dialogue, while the other strings retain their subordinate function. The first violin part soon goes into regular ascending scales which are taken up by the clarinet and lead back to the opening cantilena. This repeated exactly. The dialogue then starts again, but is soon transformed into a brief coda in which the clarinet gives out its smooth concluding phrases in even crochets above descending triplet sequences in the strings.
Third Movement: Minuetto
The third movement has a minuet and two trios, each of them in admirable contrast to the others. This is partly achieved by the fact that the clarinet is definitely predominant in the second trio, shares the imce with the first violin in the minuet, and is not heard at all in the first trio. The first section of the minuet is in five-part harmony with the clarinet at the top; the second has running quavers for the first violin which are taken over by the strings. Trio No. 1 in A minor is engagingly pathetic, but No. 2 has more character; in the latter, the bucolic jokes of the clarinet in its lowest bassoon-like register, should not divert attention from the subtlety with which the opening figure binds the structure together; it is taken up in the dominant by the first violin at the start of the second section in which it later appears in the bass to lead back to its original statement by the clarinet.
Fourth Movement: Allegretto con variazioni
The fourth movement is a set of variations on a martial tune which is announced at once. The imitations of the melody in the second section by the viola and later by the second violin should be noted.
In the first variation, the clarinet adds a decorative counter-melody; the second gives the tune to the first violin, accompanied by triplets from the second violin and viola; the third is in the minor with a viola counterpoint which the first violin later takes over. The fourth gives the tune more or less in its original form with running semiquavers for clarinet and the for first violin. A linking passage of four bars leads to the adagio in which first violin and clarinet share a decorated version of the tune, and the final allegro, welded on by another link, ignores the second part of the tune altogheter, knowing that its business is to sum up the movement as tersely as possible, and it succeds in completing the structure with remarkable neatness
LXT 2698