Australian World Orchestra Chamber Ensemble

Friday, 21 August 2020 at 8pm

Bernadette Harvey (Piano), Francesco Celata (Clarinet), Matthew Wilkie (Bassoon), Ben Jacks (Horn) and Conall McClure (Oboe)

Programme

DANZI Quintet in D minor for piano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn, Op 41

MOZART Quintet in E-flat major for piano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn, K 452

INTERVAL

BEETHOVEN Quintet in E-flat major for piano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn, Op 16

About the Artists

Each year the Australian World Orchestra (AWO) brings together many of Australia’s most successful classical musicians.  As well as symphonic performances, the AWO delights in presenting chamber music performances focussing on the excellence of Australia's elite musicians. We are fortunate that in 2020 one of those chamber music concerts will be presented for Sydney Mozart Society.

Read more about the artists.

Programme Notes

It is not often that audiences have the opportunity to hear a quintet for piano and winds, let alone three. It is a form that demands the highest technical skill and artistry. When four outstanding orchestral players join with a renowned pianist, the result is guaranteed to be a beautiful blending of sounds  and a night of exhilarating music. 

DANZI Quintet in D minor for piano,oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon, Op 41  

programme notes for this work will be available nearer to the concert date.

MOZART Quintet for in E flat major for piano, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon, K 452

Largo – Allegro moderato / Larghetto / Rondo: Allegretto

Mozart's quintet for piano and wind instruments was completed at the end of March 1784, two days before its first performance. Mozart described it in a letter to his father as "the best work I have ever composed" and said, following its first performance on 1st April, that "it called forth the very greatest applause". Alfred Einstein writes that "the delicacy of feeling with which Mozart touches the boundaries of the concertante field can only be admired, not surpassed; and the particular charm of this work consists in its feeling for the tonal character of each of the four wind instruments, of which none is disproportionately prominent – not even the clarinet, which shares the leadership in true fraternity with the oboe; and in the fact that none of the instruments is subordinated – not even the horn".

The work is introduced by a rather long, solemn, largo whose concertante style sets the tone of the work. This leads to a quick allegro moderato section whose opening theme, played softly on the piano until it is interrupted by a loud tutti episode, is followed by a section characterized by irregular phrasing and offbeat accents. In the larghetto movement, the wind instruments take the lead in announcing the themes while the piano weaves elaborate decorative arpeggios around them. The rondo finale is opened by a theme on the piano which is then echoed by the winds. This finale concludes with a written-out cadenza in tempo for all instruments – a cadenza section in the tempo of the movement, whose parts are actually written out for each instrument.
                                                                                                                          M.C.

BEETHOVEN Quintet in E-flat major for piano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn, Op 16

Grave – Allegro ma non troppo / Andante cantabile / Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo

Beethoven's piano quintet (which he later arranged as a piano quartet, also op 16) is said to have been modelled on Mozart’s piano quintet, K 452. The work was written in 1796 and dedicated to Prince Joseph von Schwarzenberg.  There are two interesting anecdotes relating to early performances of the piano part.  In 1798, the quintet was performed in a concert organized by Salieri and given in the presence of the Emperor.  Beethoven (who was the pianist) greatly annoyed the wind players by improvising extensively in the last movement.  In 1816, the quintet was included in the farewell concert of violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh, who had organized the first performance of the work in 1797.  On this occasion, the pianist was Czerny, who added his own embellishments to the part, greatly annoying Beethoven.

The introductory section of the quintet is sombrely majestic, almost symphonic in nature, with dramatically contrasting dynamics.  At its conclusion, the three main themes of the main, allegro, part of the movement are introduced by the piano and, indeed, what follows is dominated and driven by the piano.  The movement is concluded by an extended coda.

In contrast, the slow movement, based on a beautiful, Mozart-like, theme, brings a mood of relaxation.  The theme returns a number of times, more embellished on each occasion.  Between these statements of the main theme, you will hear episodes in the minor key; the first is introduced by the oboe and the second by the horn.

The rondo Finale is introduced by a hunting theme.  In the words of Canadian pianist Anton Kuerti, the movement is “exuberant and witty” and has “substance and virtuosity”.

While the first movement takes about as long to play as the other two movements combined, this in no way diminishes the importance of the rest of the quintet.
                                                                                                                          M.C.