Mozart, WA :: 'Horn' Quintet in E flat

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  • Composer
    Mozart, WA
  • Instrumentation
    Woodwind Quintet
  • Publisher
    Musicians Publications [WQ229]
  • Editor
    Holcombe, Bill (arr); Holcombe Jr, Bill (arr)
  • Orchestration
    fl, ob, cl, hn, bsn
  • Includes CD
    No
  • Classification
    Not Applicable
  • Genre
    Undefined
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'Horn' Quintet in E flat
Mozart, WA

Musicians Publications presents W.A. Mozart's Horn Quintet in E-flat arranged for woodwind quintet by Bill Holcombe and Bill Holcombe Jr.

The year 1782 was full of promise for Mozart. He had moved the year before from Salzburg to Vienna and was savoring his first year of independence from his father. He was proving he could make a living as a freelance musician, and he was establishing important relationships with wealthy and influential supporters. Outgoing and sociable, he maintained a large and varied group of friends and acquaintances, including a number of fellow countrymen from Salzburg. One of these was a horn player named Joseph Leutgeb. Mozart had known him since 1763, when Leutgeb had arrived in Salzburg to play in the Salzburg court orchestra and had become friends with the Mozarts, including the seven-year-old prodigy Wolfgang. Leutgeb was a brilliant hornist, skilled at playing the valveless waldhorn. But for some reason, he long had been a butt of Wolfgang s jokes and pranks. Mozart would amuse himself by writing insulting comments Oh how flat you play! Ouch! Help! on Leutgeb s music. Or he would throw manuscript pages on the floor and have Leutgeb crawl around collecting them. On the autograph of the E-flat Horn Concerto, Mozart wrote, Wolfgang Amade Mozart takes pity on Leutgeb, ass, ox, and simpleton. Maynard Solomon thinks that Leutgeb may have served Mozart as a willing buffoon or court jester. As Mozart himself once wrote, I can never resist making a fool of someone. Despite all this, the two men remained on friendly terms. Evidently Mozart appreciated what a superb horn player Leutgeb was, because he wrote all of his horn concertos as well as the Horn Quintet for him.

Mozart scored the amiable Quintet for an unorthodox string combination one violin, two violas, and a cello that contributes to its unusual sonorities. Humor runs through the Quintet; it s as if Mozart s relationship with Leutgeb infected the mood of the piece. From the opening measures, with their contrast between a rhythmic fanfare and an airy response, the first movement announces that this work will amuse as well as charm. Throughout the movement, as the horn introduces long-lined motifs and the violin answers, the flow is interrupted by a playful four-note fanfare. With the graceful Andante the joking is put on pause, as the horn and the violin engage in a tender duet and all five instruments contribute to the lyrical conversation. High spirits return in the jovial rondo, which begins with a rhythmic variant of the Andante s main melody, and which gives the hornist a good workout, thanks to an exceptionally difficult part. As Melvin Berger notes, Mozart mischievously makes it unclear whether the opening theme begins on the downbeat or the upbeat (it s an upbeat). It s all part of the fun of this good-natured work. - Barbara Leish, 2017

This arrangement by Holcombe is intermediate-advanced in diffculty.

  • Composer
    Mozart, WA
  • Instrumentation
    Woodwind Quintet
  • Publisher
    Musicians Publications [WQ229]
  • Editor
    Holcombe, Bill (arr); Holcombe Jr, Bill (arr)
  • Orchestration
    fl, ob, cl, hn, bsn
  • Includes CD
    No
  • Classification
    Not Applicable
  • Genre
    Undefined
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