‘The finest, most perfect trio ever heard’ is how one great Mozart scholar described the glorious Divertimento in E flat, Mozart’s only string trio. Despite its six movements and its light-hearted disguise as a Divertimento, this is no background diversion for wealthy diners, rather it is true chamber music at the highest possible level, especially with these three musicians – Henning Kraggerud, Ellen Nisbeth and Emmanuelle Bertrand.
Mozart wrote it for his friend and patron, Michael Puchberg, whose ready generosity saved the composer much financial embarrassment and its generous proportions reflect his patron’s kindness. Mozart clearly loved his creation as on a visit to Dresden he arranged a ‘little musicale’ in his hotel with some colleagues, whom he introduced to ‘the Trio I wrote for Herr Puchberg’.
Mozart would have played the viola part, as indeed violists cannot resist telling us. The perfection of this work lies in its unassuming nature, a mere Divertimento creates no expectations, but it is as though the composer himself is sitting there, laughing and joking while creating music so sublime and yet so personal that it is hard to believe what you are hearing.
This was a late-night candle-lit performance in the Bantry House Library so you can imagine the growing darkness outside while the musicians play on. Meanwhile we try to grapple with a future of socially distanced concerts.
Find out more, and listen to the recording, here.
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