Fantasia for a Mechanical Organ No.2, K 608
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
arranged by Tony Turrill for woodwind octet
2Flutes/2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets), 2 Bassoons
click on the quaver for some excerpts
here for a full virtual performance
In March 1791, Count Deym von Strzitez, a Viennese art collector, advertised the opening of a mausoleum in honour of Field Marshall Baron von Laudon, who had died the previous year. (Haydn's Symphony No. 69 had been composed in his honour a dozen years before.) A mechanical organ attached to a clock played funeral music "on the stroke of each hour". Deym announced that the music would be changed each week; Mozart's Adagio and Allegro, K594, seems to have been commissioned as the inaugural music and it is assumed that K608, completed on March 3rd 1791, was intended for later performance by the same instrument. Mozart was not enthusiastic about the project, whilst composing K594, he complained that the organ's little pipes sounded "too high pitched and childish for my taste".
Our arrangements of both for a woodwind octet arose from a belief that the sound of this ensemble without horns might well approach the original timbre of the organ. On a more pragmatic level they provided something substantial for a hornless ensemble – when mixing players into groups this can be a decided advantage. The work is in one continuous movement, Allegro, Andante, Allegro. It is however substantial, running to 223 bars.
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We also publish settings of the first fantasia, a similar combination to this one by Tony Turrill, and another of this fantasia as an octet containing basset horns, Ein Orgel-Stuck fur eine hur, K608 by Duncan Druce