Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Nationality: Austrian
Born: January 27, 1756, Salzburg Died: December 5, 1791, Vienna (age 35)

Trio in E-flat major, K. 498, "Kegelstatt" (for clarinet, viola and piano)

(for clarinet, viola and piano)
5:53 I. Andante
5:44 II. Menuetto - Trio
8:39 III. Rondeaux. Allegretto
Duration: 21 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1786 (age 29-30)
Published: 1788, Vienna: Artaria (age 31-32)
10 recordings, 26 videos
autoopen autoplay
5:46
Nash Ensemble
I. Andante
5:53
Nash Ensemble
II. Menuetto - Trio
8:28
Nash Ensemble
III. Rondeaux. Allegretto
5:47
Reginald Kell, Lilian Fuchs, Mieczyslaw Horszowski
I. Andante
5:41
Reginald Kell, Lilian Fuchs, Mieczyslaw Horszowski
II. Menuetto - Trio
9:17
Reginald Kell, Lilian Fuchs, Mieczyslaw Horszowski
III. Rondeaux. Allegretto
5:54
L'Archibudelli
I. Andante
5:56
L'Archibudelli
II. Menuetto - Trio
8:20
L'Archibudelli
III. Rondeaux. Allegretto
5:48
Sabine Meyer, Tabea Zimmermann, Hartmut Höll
I. Andante
5:41
Sabine Meyer, Tabea Zimmermann, Hartmut Höll
II. Menuetto - Trio
8:30
Sabine Meyer, Tabea Zimmermann, Hartmut Höll
III. Rondeaux. Allegretto
6:12
Richard Stoltzman, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax
I. Andante
6:01
Richard Stoltzman, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax
II. Menuetto - Trio
8:53
Richard Stoltzman, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax
III. Rondeaux. Allegretto
6:02
Mcgill, Walther, Han
I. Andante
5:57
Mcgill, Walther, Han
II. Menuetto - Trio
9:28
Mcgill, Walther, Han
III. Rondeaux. Allegretto
19:38
McDonald, Weaver, Griffin
6:00
Leister, Schiller, Francesch
I. Andante
5:41
Leister, Schiller, Francesch
II. Menuetto - Trio
8:31
Leister, Schiller, Francesch
III. Rondeaux. Allegretto
19:53
Del Mastro, Kluson, Caramella
5:57
Bruch Trio
I. Andante
5:51
Bruch Trio
II. Menuetto - Trio
8:45
Bruch Trio
III. Rondeaux. Allegretto
From Kai Christiansen

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano in E flat Major, K. 498, “Kegelstatt” (1786)

Mozart loved to spend time with his fellow musicians and often wrote some of his most wonderful music for gatherings with specific players in mind: the true music of friends. Mozart wrote the so-called “Kegelstatt” Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, for his confreres Franziska von Jacquin, his favorite piano student, and Anton Stadler, friend and one of history’s first clarinet virtuosi. For it’s debut, Mozart himself played his favorite role as violist. The scoring of the trio is significant for numerous reasons. Mozart was in the midst of writing his finest chamber music that included a significant compass of the instrumental palette featuring horn, flute, oboe and the string family. The year before the Kegelstatt saw Mozart compose a pair of piano quartets, outstanding works that become the first in the distinguished genre. With trios, quartets and concerti, Mozart is among the very first master composers to feature the new piano vs. the harpsichord. The mid-18th century also witnessed the emergence of the clarinet appearing in opera and symphony scores and reaching Mozart’s world around this time. Stadler was an outstanding player who inspired Mozart first with this trio, then the immortal quintet, and nearly his last work: the clarinet concerto. In yet another example of his ability to create the sui generis in a fresh green field, Mozart becomes the bedrock of the clarinet repertoire. The piano trio itself was a largely new fangled thing during these years Mozart is the first to create and handful of masterworks using a the piano in a startlingly crystalline texture of classical poise and reserve where the piano truly sings with its cohorts. The Kegelstatt combines friends, history, a fresh foray of contemporary musical color and a mature mastery of the finest Viennese chamber music into an inexpressible delight.

About the nickname: Among the tales of Mozart’s genius is the story that he composed music while playing a kind of outdoor bowling game sometimes called by the British name of “skittles.” The German game of Kegeln and the place (e.g. statt) where one plays it generated title for “the trio composed while blowing”. This may have been the case for some of Mozart’s works for horn, but likely not this particular trio. In a similar fashion, the film Amadeus pictures Mozart shooting billiards as music pours forth in his mind.

The three-movement trio begins with an extraordinary sonata form unrolled with such natural melodious charm and grace that one can overlook its ingenious means of construction. The opening gesture of the music features a somewhat theatrical announcement with plenty of silence and space to galvanize our attention. The very first motif - one note on a downbeat followed by a swift flurry notes clustering into a little ornament called a grupetto (a little group of notes) – saturates the entire musical fabric of the whole movement as it passed from player to player in an ever-changing mosaic colored by a single shape. Even the second theme, flowing and lyrical, it based on a slow motion transformation of the same. The silences that punctuated the opening dialog are richly filled with elaborations on the reprise crowning a continuous skein of variation sung with the clarity of a child’s storybook.

The middle movement minuet is a marvel all on its own. The outer minuet is lovely, poised and artfully “developed” with deft counterpoint in its second phase. The trio plunges the music into a mysterious, probing drama based on two motifs, a 4-note ripple and racing line of triplets passing like a dark secret throughout the four-part ensemble (clarinet, viola, piano left hand, piano right hand). In a novel formal twist, the trio motifs appear once again at the end of the minuet. The finale is a rondo (with the French title Rondeaux) with its refrains and episodes giving Mozart ample room for constant variation of the familiar interrupted by dramatic contrast. All in all, the Kegelstatt is delicious on the outside and quite intriguing on the inside, suggesting a paraphrase of Mozart’s commonly cited remark that his music was sure to please “beginners and connoisseurs” alike.

© Kai Christiansen Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
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