V5: String Quartets

Album cover art for upc 4260085534968
Label: CAVI
Catalog: AVI 8553496

Armida Quartet

Boredom (in German: “long whiling”) is apparently what drove Wolfgang to compose one of his string quartets at the inn at Bolzano. And yes, he was doing well, as father Leopold assured Mozart’s mother in a letter dated 28 October 1772. How can we even imagine what boredom must have felt like for a 16-year-old genius? At any rate, it would be too Romantic to imagine that Mozart was writing an emotional diary with these string quartets, a sort of journal intime of his Italian journey. Still, by observing his son’s state of “boredom,” Leopold was indeed noting that Wolfgang was involved in a personal moment of forced leisure. Sitting at the table in the inn, he was processing and digesting the myriad of cultural, social, and musical impressions he had gathered in his travels, creating music that he could soon try out with friends or colleagues, or that might be performed at an upcoming reception in high society. The first authentic quartet and the first group of six were all written in Italy; the second set emerged in the context of a trip to Vienna; finally, the late, “Prussian” quartets are associated the last journey in Mozart’s life. In the midst of these, the six “Classical” quartets show the manner in which Mozart chose to position himself in Vienna – also in relation to Joseph Haydn, who, in Vienna and elsewhere, was regarded as the undisputed master of the string quartet genre.

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