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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


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)




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