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By contrast the G minor quintet is almost obsessive, and its dark chromaticism
begins to suggest the supernatural world of Don Giovanni (Mozart
had perhaps already started on the opera -- certainly he had chosen the subject).
The C major actually contains longer chromatic flights; here they move more
slowly, twist relentlessly downwards and permeate every nerve of the music.
The development of the opening Allegro shows the intensity of Mozart's vision
and the subtlety of the Locrian Ensemble in realising it [listen
-- track 1, 5:46-6:50]. The wonderful lyricism that lightens the atmosphere
and makes the slow movement take wing for a handful of bars is one of the
work's most precious moments [listen -- track 3, 2:30-3:29].
Perhaps it was the introduction to the finale that brought the Garden of
Gethsemane to Alfred Einstein's mind in connection with this quintet. The
ensuing movement has been criticised as inadequate. Mozart had alternative
ideas for it, one brooding enough for the prevailing mood of the work. Mozart's
ultimate choice needs careful handling, and here the players' manifest relief
at abandoning the prevailing seriousness is perhaps their one error of judgement.
Copyright © 25 September 2002
Robert Anderson, London, UK
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THE LOCRIAN ENSEMBLE
Mozart: String Quintets K515 and K516
CD QS 6238 DDD Stereo 69'18" 2000 ASV Ltd
The Locrian Ensemble: Rolf Wilson, violin, Rita Manning, violin, Stephen Shakeshaft, viola, Philip Dukes, viola, Justin Pearson, cello
String Quintet No 4 in G minor K516 (1787); String Quintet No 3 in C K515 (1787)