Mozart’s “Kleine Nachtmusik” is surely one of the most popular works of so-called classical music. Although his manuscript is not completely free of corrections, it is still undoubtedly one of Mozart’s most beautiful and serves as the (sole) source for our Urtext edition. Mozart wanted to see his most famous serenade performed by a string quartet with double bass (HN 1005); but it is well-known that it also sounds good when played by a chamber orchestra, so the parts can also be ordered individually. And there is another little extra: The editor believes he has identified the much discussed person to whom the “Kleine Nachtmusik” was dedicated – the answer can be read in the preface.
- Divertimento "A Little Night Music" KV 525
Mozart’s “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” is unquestionably one of the most popular works in the entire classical-music canon. This is definitely not by chance, as the work is an exemplary compendium of all the ingredients which Leopold Mozart regularly recommended to his son for achieving a successful work: “Short, easy and popular. […] written in a natural, flowing and easy … more
About the composer
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart is one of the few composers to have produced masterpieces in all genres. On the concert tours he undertook in his early years (London, Mannheim, Italy, Paris) he gained many varied musical impressions that he assimilated in his youth and which formed the prerequisite for his later consummate musical language.
|1756||Born in Salzburg on January 27, the son of musician and later court composer Leopold Mozart. His early regimented musical education from his father began in 1761, first compositions at age five.|
|1763–66||Extended concert tours through various German cities and to Paris, London, Amsterdam, Switzerland. He composes his first sonatas for violin and piano, K. 10–15, dedicated to Queen Charlotte, as well as the first symphonies from London, K. 16 and 19, which show the influence of the works of Johann Christian Bach and Karl Friedrich Abel (the three-movement Italian sinfonia form).|
|1767||Premiere in Salzburg of the sacred light opera “Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebotes,” K. 35 (written with Michael Haydn and Anton C. Adlgasser), and the intermezzo “Apollo et Hyacinthus,” K. 38. Journeys with his father and sister to Vienna.|
|1768||Probably the premiere in Vienna of his Singspiel “Bastien and Bastienne,” K. 50. Composition of his first masses.|
|1769||Performance in Salzburg of the dramma giocoso “La finta semplice,” K. 51.|
|1769–71||Two tours to Italy; he meets Farinelli, P. Nardini, and Padre Martini, among others, and, on the second trip, Hasse. Premieres in Milan of his opera seria “Mitridate, Re di Ponto” in 1770 and of the festa teatrale “Ascanio in Alba” in 1771. Composition of symphonies and his first string quartet (1770, K. 80).|
|1771||Composition of the oratorio “La Betulia liberate,” K. 118, in Salzburg/Italy.|
|1772||Premiere of the serenata drammatica “Il sogno di Scipione,” K. 126, for the accession of Salzburg Archbishop Hieronymus Count Colloredo. He receives an appointment as salaried concertmaster of the Salzburg Court Chapel (of which he had been an unpaid member since 1769). Third journey to Italy with his father, premiere in Milan of the dramma per musica “Lucio Silla,” with general success. The final trip to Italy spells the ends of his youthful phase of appropriation; he has tested out all important instrumental genres (symphony, sonata, string quartet) and all the main genres of opera (Singspiel, opera buffa, opera seria, festa teatrale).|
|from 1773||Composition of string quartets (K. 168–173) under the influence of Haydn, and of symphonies, divertimenti, serenades. He increasingly devotes himself, contingent upon the duties of his post, to liturgical music; several masses are written. Begins to compose violin and piano concerti.|
|1775||Premiere in Munich of the dramma giocoso “La finta giardiniera” and the serenata “Il Rè pastore.” Piano sonatas, K. 279–284.|
|1777||He vacates his post temporarily to undertaken a promotional tour with his mother to Munich, Mannheim, and Paris.|
|1778||Composition of the “Paris” Symphony in D major (K. 297). In Paris he experiences the quarrel between the proponents of Gluck and those of Piccinni. Publication of violin sonatas.|
|1779||Resumes his duties in Salzburg, as court organist. Coronation Mass in C major.|
|1781||Premiere in Munich of his tragédie lyrique “Idomeneo,” in which French and Italian elements are synthesized. Journey to Vienna. After his falling out with the Archbishop of Salzburg, he gives up his post, moves to Vienna, and earns his living as a free composer through concertizing and giving music lessons. His last great period of creativity begins.|
|1782||He becomes acquainted with the works of Bach and Handel through Baron van Swieten; after this he arranges Bachian fugues and incorporates the “learned style” (fugues and counterpoint) into his works beside the “galant style” (e.g. in the String Quartet in G major, K. 387, in 1782; Piano Sonata in F major, K. 533, in 1786; the Jupiter Symphony, K. 551, in 1788; “Die Zauberflöte” (“The Magic Flute”), and the Requiem in D minor, K. 626, both in 1791). Premiere in Vienna of his Singspiel “Die Entführung aus dem Serail” (“The Abduction from the Seraglio”). Composition of the Haffner Symphony in D major, K. 385.|
|1783||Mass in C minor, K. 427; Linz Symphony in C major, K. 425.|
|1784||Hunt Quartet in B-flat major, K. 458.|
|1785||Premiere in Vienna of the oratorio “Davide penitente,” K. 469. “Dissonance” Quartet in C major, K. 465.|
|1786||Premiere of the comedy with music “Der Schauspieldirektor” (“The Impresario”), K. 486, which Salieri’s competing work “Prima la musica e poi le parole” (“First the Music and Then the Words”) bests. Premiere in Vienna of the opera buffa “Le nozze di Figaro” (“The Marriage of Figaro”), whose extended action-packed finales form a highpoint of opera buffa. Prague Symphony in D major, K. 504.|
|1787||Serenade in G major (“Eine kleine Nachtmusik”), K. 525. He is named imperial and royal chamber composer. Premiere in Prague of the dramma giocoso “Il dissoluto punito ossia Il Don Giovanni,” a synthesis of serious and comic opera.|
|1788||Composition of the large Symphonies in E-flat major, K. 543; G minor, K. 550; and C major (Jupiter Symphony), K. 551. Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581.|
|1790||Premiere in Vienna of the dramma giocoso “Così fan tutte ossia La scuola degli amanti.”|
|1791||Premiere in Prague of the opera seria “La clemenza di Tito” and in Vienna of the Singspiel “Die Zauberflöte.” Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622. The Requiem remains unfinished. Dies in Vienna on December 5.|
About the authors
Das gewohnt Henle-übersichtlich und -klar gesetzte Notenbild erfreut das Auge und ermuntert geradezu, die Noten baldmöglichst erneut aufs Pult zu legen.
A handsome new edition by Henle is now available. It is well laid out and includes footnotes for the occasional editing due to irregularities in the manuscript.
Die neue Ausgabe im Henle Verlag macht dem Namen des Hauses alle Ehre: Das Stimmenmaterial - plädiert wird richtigerweise für kammermusikalische, allenfalls zu verdoppelnde Quintettbesetzung - ist absolut praxistauglich.
I’ve no hesitation in recommending it.