Full Episode: Colburn Chamber Music Society -- Mozart, Dvorak

This episode of "Open Call" features songs from Mozart and Dvorak, courtesy of the Colburn Chamber Music Society.

About the music:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, K. 493 was originally intended to be one of three piano quartets commissioned by the publisher Franz Anton Hoffmeister. However, after the first installment in the series, the Piano Quartet in G Minor, K. 478, Hoffmeister cancelled the commission, noting that the work was far too difficult for amateurs and therefore would not sell. Mozart decided to push ahead regardless and thus produced the E-flat quartet. The piano quartet as a genre came into its own at the hand of Mozart - as Mozart scholar Neal Zaslaw writes in The Compleat Mozart, "Mozart virtually invented the piano quartet." Up to this point, piano and string chamber music was primarily found in the popular trio sonata, in which the keyboard played the role of accompaniment to the strings; Mozart's piano quartets altered that balance by making all voices of equal importance. The early piano quartet is perhaps less directly connected to the trio sonata than it is to the 18th-century keyboard concerto, often written with accompaniment of two violins and cello. It was not until Mozart began to use the format of piano, violin, viola, and cello that this combination became popular - and only at the hands of such a master.

The Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81, by Antonin Dvořák, was written as a result of the composer's dissatisfaction with his little- known first Piano Quintet, Op. 5 (also in A Major). The first quintet was written in 1872 and despite receiving a warm reception after its first performance in Prague, Dvořák was not pleased and burned the manuscript. Fifteen years later, he sought to revise the quintet (the concert presenter had saved a copy of the score) but was still not satisfied with the work. Dvořák then decided to embark on writing a new quintet, and after just six weeks, created the Op. 81 Piano Quintet heard tonight. The work, premiered in Prague on January 6th, 1888, added to his already growing success around the world.

(Written by Colburn Conservatory student Avi Nagin, a violinist and a sophomore in the Bachelor of Music program in the Colburn Conservatory.)


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Carol and Warner Henry