Cherry blossom (Photo credit: Ana Gasston)
I can feel it in the air, and as I walk past the blossoming cheery trees down the street, Spring is definitely here. And what better way to celebrate than with a concert program filled with youthful and bright music.
This Saturday, the first day of Spring, we explore the early Classical masters and the influence that the Classical and Romantic tradition had on young impressionable composers. Beethoven’s Quintet for piano and winds is a youthful homage to Mozart, emulating the elder composer while establishing his own clear voice. The Clarinet Sonata is one of Bernstein’s first published compositions, of which the form and style is closely aligned to the Romantic tradition. Mozart was already an established composer by the time he composed the Kegelstatt Trio, supposedly for one of his best piano pupils. Carl Nielsen’s Wind Quintet remains his most performed composition due to the unique combination of capturing the character of the performers in his music, the use of traditional folk song in a chorale setting, and a structure firmly rooted in the Classical tradition.
Beethoven – Quintet for piano and winds, Op. 16
Much like his string quartets (Op. 18) that Beethoven was writing at the same time the composition reflects the influence of his older peers, Mozart and Haydn. In fact the quintet closely mimics Mozart’s Quintet for the same instruments and composed in the same key of E flat, K. 452 (written in 1784). and even has similar tempi for each movements. Even though Beethoven’s writing for the winds closely follows the style of Mozart’s wind serenades, Beethoven does assert his personality through the forceful writing for the piano. An alternate version with the same opus number is written for piano, violin, viola and cello. Both works were dedicated to Prince Joseph Johann zu Schwarzenberg.
Bernstein – Sonata for clarinet and piano
One of America’s most remarkable and versatile musicians, Leonard Bernstein was a composer, conductor, pianist and educator. Although most famous as a conductor, and for his score for the musical West Side Story, Bernstein was a prolific composer, writing symphonies, operas, choral and piano music. The Sonata is dedicated to clarinetist David Oppenheim, whom Bernstein met during the Tanglewood summer season of 1942.
Mozart – Trio for clarinet, viola and piano K.498
From the first time he heard the clarinet in the famous orchestra at Mannheim in 1778, Mozart was entranced by its beautiful tone. Writing to his father Mozart declared, “you can’t guess the lordly effect of symphony with flutes, oboes and clarinets”. Although Mozart used clarinets that year in his Paris Symphony (no. 31), it wasn’t until his friendship with clarinetist and fellow Freemason Anton Stadler was established in Vienna that he began to write for the instrument with the virtuosity well known from his Clarinet Concerto and Clarinet Quintet of 1789.
Nielsen – Wind Quintet
Carl Nielsen’s Wind Quintet is one of the key works of the wind quintet repertoire. It is modern yet very accessible, and while each instrument has a distinct voice, the whole is expressive and cohesive. In 1921 Nielsen was inspired to compose a wind quintet after overhearing a rehearsal of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante by members of the Copenhagen Wind Quintet. Nielsen’s wind quintet was then dedicated to the ensemble and they premiered the quintet in 1922.
– Notes, by Ian Sykes, Clare Kahn and Alison Evans.
I hope that you may be able to join us!
When: Saturday 1st September, 7.30pm
Where: St Philip’s Anglican Church, 3 York St, Sydney