W.A.Mozart: - Quintet (after the Violin Sonata KV 454)
For flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon
Duration 20:30 minutes (with repeat)
The violin sonata in B flat KV 454 was written in April 1784 for the famous violinist Regina Strinasacchi who visited Vienna whilst touring Europe. Her arrival created the occasion for a special concert at the Imperial Court and Mozart was eager to be included. The story goes that at the concert Strinasacchi and Mozart played the sonata without rehearsal and, from his box, the emperor Joseph noticed that Mozart seemed to be playing from an empty piece of paper. After the concert the curious emperor ordered an inspection which revealed that there were indeed hardly any notes, just a bare sketch of the accompaniment: lack of time had forced the composer to play the piano part from memory. It is still visible in the autograph where the accompaniment is written in different ink and almost illegibly small as to fit the pre-written violin staff. However the most important thing about this amazing feat is that it never impeded the greatness of the composer and the music.
This is the period when Mozart had established himself as the leading exponent of wind-band writing, the great Serenade for Thirteen Instruments having just received a sensational reception at its premiere. Also the Quintet for Piano and Winds, which at the time he considered his best work, was only a month old. Therefore the basic challenge for me has not been to render a violin sonata for wind instruments, but to turn the piece into a Quintet as if Mozart had originally conceived it that way. An unattainable ideal indeed, but a compelling aspiration when working with an original masterpiece like this.
Editing has been kept to a minimum as to keep to a classical lay-out. Additional dynamics and articulations are left to the personal taste of the performers.
This arrangement has been dedicated to the London Winds: Philippa Davies - flute, Gareth Hulse - oboe,
Michael Collins - clarinet, Robin O'Neill - bassoon and Richard Watkins - horn.