Finally, the time has come: over the next few years all of Mozart’s 26 string quartets will be published by Henle in an Urtext edition of both score and parts. All previous editions have left much to be desired, for example as concerns the correct placement of dynamic markings. Our edition, made with the artistic collaboration of the Armida Quartet, draws upon the large body of modern knowledge concerning Mozart philology and performance practice. We begin with what are, chronologically speaking, the final four quartets: the so-called “Hoffmeister” Quartet, K. 499, and the three “Prussian” Quartets K. 575, 589 and 590. It is possible that the impulse behind the composition of these last three works was the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm II, who was an excellent cellist. Modern cellists will find many beautiful melodies to enjoy in them.
- String Quartets IV
- String Quartet ("Hoffmeister") D major KV 499
- String Quartet ("Prussian") D major KV 575
- String Quartet ("Prussian") B flat major KV 589
- String Quartet ("Prussian") F major KV 590
String Quartet in D major K. 499 Precise details of the origins of the String Quartet K. 499 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 91) – the socalled Hoffmeister Quartet – remain obscure. Nevertheless, the few extant documents allow us to reconstruct the circumstances of its composition in convincing fashion. Unusually, this Quartet was published on its own, not in … 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
This splendid new edition has been sourced from the autograph score held in the British Library in London and from parts in the Austrian National Library in Vienna. No note has been left unturned in Henle`s meticulously researched urtext publication.
Henle liefert nicht nur die neueste, sondern auch die nach jüngsten Erkenntnissen wissenschaftlich abgesichterte Edition. Sie kommt mit ihrem besonders klar und licht angeordneten, lesefreundlichen Stimmenmaterial dem Praktiker entgegen: Er erhält eine Notenausgabe, die zur Beschäftigung mit diesen Werken animiert. Im sorgsam erstellten Vorwort im Editionsbericht des Herausgebers werden Werkgeschichte, Quellenlage, die frühen Drucke et cetera dezidiert kommentiert. Mit dem Konzept dieser Edition würdigen Verlag und Herausgeber zugleich des Komponisten "mühsame Arbeit" und geben für die sachgemäße Interpretation denkbar günstige Voraussetzungen.
Diese Ausgabe beglückt durch ihre angenehme Lesbarkeit und Blätterfreundlichkeit, die das Arbeiten mit dem Material erfreulich erleichtert. Ein ausführliches Vorwort sowie Bemerkungen erläutern den Entstehungsprozess der Quartette und die Arbeit des Herausgebers Wolf-Dieter Seiffert mit den Quellen.