Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , composer, violinist and piano virtuoso,
was born on January 26,1756 in Salzburg, Austria and died on December
5, 1791 in Vienna, Austria. Mozart’s works are identified by Köchel
numbers (pronounced “Kershel”), named for the Austrian musicologist Ludwig Kochel
who, in 1862, published a numerical list of Mozart’s works in the order
in which they had been written ‑ i.e., K. 1 was the first piece Mozart
wrote and K. 626, the last.
Mozart’s Trio, K. 498 (for clarinet, viola & piano), Quintet, K. 581 (for clarinet & strings) and Concerto, K. 622 (for clarinet & orchestra) were all written for clarinetist Anton Stadler (1753-1812). Stadler’s younger brother Johann (1755-1802) was also a clarinetist and even though Anton was the better player, when they performed together, Anton usually played 2nd - because he preferred the lower notes of the clarinet. This fascination with lower notes led him to have a clarinet constructed which could play down to low C - usually referred to as a Basset-Clarinet.
The Basset-Horn had been invented in 1770 by Mayrhofer; its range went down to low C but it was usually pitched in F or G. Mozart’s original sketch (only 199 bars) for the Concerto in 1789 was for Basset-Horn in G. It is probable that the final versions of both the Quintet (completed September 29, 1789 and first performed December 22, 1789) and the Concerto (completed in October, 1791, less than two months before Mozart’s death) were written for Stadler’s Basset-Clarinet in A; however, the original manuscripts have disappeared (most likely into Stadler’s hands) as have any examples of Stadler’s actual Basset-Clarinet. All modern versions of the work are based on editions for the standard Clarinet in A, published ten years after Mozart’s death.
This arrangement has been transposed up a semitone so that it can be played on a Bb Clarinet; in addition, the Horn, has been changed to the more traditional modern Horn in F, from the Horn in A (1st & 3rd movements) and Horn in D (2nd movement) which Mozart called for in the score. Short introductions have also been added to the 2nd and 3rd movements.
Antonín Reicha, composer, was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia on February 26, 1770 and died in Paris, France on May 28, 1836. Reicha studied violin, piano and flute. After his father’s death in 1771, Antonín was adopted by his uncle Joseph Reicha (1746-1795), a cellist, conductor and composer.
When Joseph was appointed as musical director to the Elector of Cologne,
Germany in 1788, Antonín moved with him to Bonn, Germany, where he
played 2nd flute in the orchestra of Maximilian of Austria - the
orchestra in which Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) played viola.
When the orchestra was dissolved in 1794, Reicha went to Hamburg and, in 1799, to Paris, where he remained until his death.
Reicha composed a large quantity of Chamber Music: an Octet (for 4 strings and 4 winds), 24 Woodwind Quintets (for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and Horn), 6 Strings Quintets, 20 String Quartets, 6 String Trios, 6 Flute Quartets (for Flute & String Trio), one Clarinet Quintet (this one) and numerous quartets, trios and duos for a variety of instruments.
Very few changes have been made to the quintet, other than the addition of a short introduction. The traditional Minuet Da Capo after the Trio has been written out.
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