Mozart String Quintets                         

 W. A. Mozart. Unfinished portrait by J. Lange.

W. A. Mozart. Unfinished portrait by J. Lange.

Publick Musick performs two of Mozart's greatest masterpieces for chamber ensemble, the Quintet in C Major K. 515, and the Quintet in Eb Major K. 614.

Theresa Salomon, violin
Boel Gidholm, violin
Daniel Elyar, viola
Alissa Smith, viola
Christopher Haritatos, cello

Friday April 27, 7:30 pm
Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word
597 East Avenue, Rochester, NY

Saturday April 28, 7:30 pm
St. Paul's Lutheran Church
28 Lincoln Avenue, Pittsford, NY

This concert will also be performed in Dansville, NY, and Wyoming, NY (for more details, scroll down!)

Though not as common as the string quartet, the string quintet did see a burst of popularity in 1780s Vienna.  By the time Mozart wrote his C Major string quintet K. 515 in 1787, at least 50 quintets by other composers had been composed, published, or circulated in Vienna since Mozart's arrival in 1781.  Why Mozart turned to this genre at this time is not known; no patron commissioned the works, and they do not seem to have been composed for a particular performance.  It is possible that Mozart, having finished his "Haydn" quartets in 1785 after "long and laborious toil," as he himself reported, wished to explore the possibilities of a 5-voice texture.  That he chose an ensemble with 2 violas is not surprising, since this had been standard among Viennese string quintets since about 1785. Also, the viola was Mozart's favorite string instrument to play himself.  It is not hard to imagine that these quintets were for Mozart a vehicle for compositional exploration and for personal expression in an almost Romantic sense. In any case, Mozart shows himself to be an absolute master of the genre.  Whether composing an operatic duet between first violin and first viola, a contrast of trios between the upper three and lower three voices, or 5-part counterpoint, he set a standard for the string quintet that has never been surpassed.