Quintet for Clarinet, Basset Horn & String Trio
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
1st movement completed by Duncan Druce with additional movements arranged by Tony Turrill
Cl. In C (or Bb)/ BHn./Vn./Va./Ce.
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Sadly Mozart failed to follow Magnus Magnusson’s example and started but did not finish a number of chamber works for the clarinet family. For the clarinettist, the quintet he completed ranks as one of the finest chamber works of all time. They can therefore forgive him abandoning the others; perhaps with the exception of the Bb clarinet quintet where a complete exposition survives. For the Basset Horn player, the sketch of the first movement of a quintet for Clarinet, Basset Horn and String Trio (KV Anh. 90 - 580b) is doubly frustrating. Firstly, because the almost complete exposition contains so many passages where Mozart was writing in one of his most carefree and tuneful moods - there are motifs in abundance simply crying out for the development that was not to be. Secondly, because even in its incomplete form, the work demonstrates the enormous potential of the combination. Had Mozart completed the whole quintet he may well have inspired later composers to write for the instruments. Unhappily, he left the work unfinished and the basset-horn lay virtually dormant until the 20th century when Richard Strauss again used it with great effect in his great pieces for seventeen wind instruments. However, when you have played this completion, I am sure that you will agree that all has not been lost. Duncan Druce takes every opportunity to develop the original material of the sketch in true Mozartian style
The original and this completion were written for clarinet in C. Mozart’s choice of clarinet is sometimes dictated by the key signature or the range of the music but it is clear that he also often chose a particular instrument to match the colour of the piece. The brighter tone of the C clarinet is therefore preferable here. With the advent of the Noblet instrument, many more players possess one and will be able to use it. However, a part for Bb clarinet is also included for those who do not and would find sight reading the transposition a chore.
Whilst the various completions of the Mozart sketch in F (KV580b) will no doubt stand alone, it is almost certain that Mozart originally started the work as the first movement of a 4 movement quintet. This set aims to provide three movements originally written by Mozart which can be played with the single movement to produce a more complete evening’s entertainment.
A second edition
In our first edition, the Quintet KV614 was chosen as the basis for the third and fourth movements, a Minuet and Trio followed by a Rondo Finale and these have been retained with a number of relatively minor changes based on experience gathered in performance. However, in the first edition, the second movement a Larghetto in F was constructed from the introduction and recapitulation of the first movement of the Quintet in D K593. Basset Horn players will recognise that even Mozart was not above reusing the same motif - that of the first bar being a replica of his adagio for two Clarinets and three Basset Horns. When contemplating the production of a second edition it was felt that this movement had resulted in a rather unbalanced work and on reflection it was therefore decided that there was no reason for ignoring Mozart’s second movement in KV614, in fact every reason for including it - e.g. the dialogue between the two violins (bars 39 et seq) transfered superbly to the two clarinets. All three extra movements are now based on KV614.
Buy the sheet music for £26.50
make a note of the ref. no. NM02; used with the composer and title it will help identify the work