Quintet for Piano and Winds in E flat K.452

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (b. 1756 - d. 1791)
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Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (b. 1756 - d. 1791)

Performance date: 06/07/2017

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1784

Duration: 00:24:32

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Quintet

Artists: Christoffer Sundqvist - [clarinet]
Joonas Ahonen - [piano]
Hervé Joulain - [horn]
Peter Whelan - [bassoon]
Olivier Doise - [oboe]

Quintet is one of the most joyous works of music ever penned. Mozart
himself, writing two months after its composition, described it as
best thing I have ever written in my life
In the spring of 1784 Mozart was riding an incredible surge of
popularity. He took part in twenty-two concert appearances in the
space of a month many of them devoted to new works, such as the two
wonderful piano concertos K.450 & K.451. The subscribers to his
concerts were the cream of Viennese society and Mozart in his triple
role as impresario, performer and composer was over the moon. But we
must always remember the fickleness of the Viennese for only five
years later Baron von Swieten was the only subscriber to Mozart’s
proposed concert series in 1789.

of the fashionable developments of the 1780’s had been the Harmonie
or wind-band, often sextets or octets, which were hired to provide
rich households with so-called
just as in the last Act of
The music for these occasions was often arrangements of popular opera
melodies and, naturally, it meant that the Austrian capital boasted
many fine wind players, which is reflected not only in Mozart’s
wind serenades but also in the scoring of his piano concertos. All
this woodwind activity is reflected in Mozart’s striking technical
skill in writing for winds, where he knows to perfection exactly how
each instrument lies.

Quintet has the distinction of being on the first page of Mozart’s
of all my Works

that he began in February 1784, alongside the four Piano Concertos
K.449, 450, 451 & 453. Each entry is numbered with a title,
date, orchestration and the first two or three bars of music.

that opens the work immediately presents all the wind instrument both
individually and together. Within his unusual group of instruments
Mozart uses every opportunity to explore the differences in sonority
and to create his glorious kaleidoscope of effects. The main
is in the usual form of exposition, development and recapitulation,
but the interest is primarily in the extraordinary way in which the
instruments are both given their individual solo spots and combined
with the others. The


achieves a form of such jewelled perfection that we instantly
understand Mozart’s pride in his creation; each instrument
including the piano is given absolutely equal status. The final
is more reminiscent of the piano concertos with the novelty that all
five instruments get their cadenza – entering one by one, oboe,
clarinet, horn, bassoon and the piano – thus confirming their
collective status as soloists.