Archive for January, 2005

Mozart, Horn Quintet in E-flat, K.407

Sunday, January 30th, 2005

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Quintet in E-flat Major for Horn and Strings, K. 407,
1782

Wolfgang Amadeus MozartMozart’s Horn Quintet is, like all of his chamber music, utterly charming, engaging and perfectly constructed. But this work is engaging for different and more subtle reasons than his other string chamber music. Rather than the counterpoint, rich harmonies, suave chromaticism and the frequent drama prominent in his other works, this quintet engages with different aspects: the tone and natural personality of the horn, and the unique but dynamic nature of quintet ensemble itself. This is an adventure in sonority and juxtaposition. (more…)

Borodin, String Quartet No. 1 in A Major

Sunday, January 30th, 2005

Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)

String Quartet No. 1 in A Major (on a theme of Beethoven), 1879

Alexander BorodinAlexander Borodin was a full-time professional Chemist, and in his spare time, a composer. Still, he managed to write a small but highly regarded oeuvre including two symphonies, two operas, and two string quartets among his mature works. All of them show tremendous craftsmanship, a gift for melody, a distinctive personality, and they secure Borodin’s reputation as one of the great Russian composers emerging in the late 19th century. Borodin was one of “The Five”, the so-called “Mighty Handful” of Russian composers that associated in St. Petersburg and sought to create a distinctly Russian national art music independent of dominant western European models. (more…)

Beethoven, String Quartet in c minor, Op. 18/4

Sunday, January 30th, 2005

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

String Quartet in c minor, Op. 18, No. 4, 1801

Ludwig van BeethovenBeethoven worked painstakingly for two years to produce his first string quartets, Op. 18, published in 1801 in the fashion of the time as a set of six. Pre-dating them are the complete string quartets of both Haydn and Mozart, Haydn having written his last two complete quartets in the same years, finishing in 1799. Just as later composers were daunted by the supreme achievements of Beethoven before them, so Beethoven was acutely aware of the rich legacy of quartet literature already preceding him. (more…)