Chamber Music Society of Colombo and Goethe Institute present ‘The Piano Quartet’
Saturday, 21 September 2013 00:00
The Chamber Music Society of Colombo and the Goethe Institute will present Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s piano quartet in G minor and Johann Christian Bach’s piano concerto (quartet version) in E flat major on Monday, 30 September 2013 at 7:30 pm at the Goethe Institute, Colombo 7.
The first, and more popular of the two piano quartets was in fact intended to be part of a set of three commissioned by the publisher Franz Anton Hoffmeister. The balance was cancelled by him on receipt of this quartet because it was “too difficult to perform by amateurs” (a recurring problem with Mozart), and therefore “unsellable”.
However, Mozart did compose his second (K. 493) nine months later. Mozart dated this work as complete in his catalogue on 16 October 1785, and it is roughly contemporary to the vocal quartet “Dite almeno in che manchai”, K. 479. Brahms would write his First Piano Quartet, Op. 25 (1856-61), in the same key. Its influence on many Romantic composers’ contributions to the form, in terms of temperament, thematic dialogue, instrument balance and character is notable. Johann Christian, the 11th child of Johann Sebastian, was called the “English” Bach, due to the time he spent in London (1762-1782). He would later meet Mozart in Paris (1778), who had a few years earlier arranged sonatas (Op. 5 nos. 2 to 4) by him, as un-numbered concerti (K. 107, also 1770). In terms of keyboard style and orchestration, his musical influence can be heard in many of that younger master’s early works, as well as Wolfgang’s letters expressing “love and respect” for the man in letters to his father Leopold, dated 27 August 1778.
In this edition of the piano concerto, it is scored for piano, two violins and cello, the intricacy of the piano writing is heard to its advantage with this one-to-a-part approach. As one of the earliest works composed for a piano as a soloist with a string ensemble without a viola, it already hints at that indefinable “pianistic” style. The outer movements are grand with a sense of pre-classical dignity, as befitting its royal dedication, to Queen Charlotta, the consort of King George III. In contrast, the gentle meanderings of the Andante in the relative G minor point towards the ‘emotional school’ of the classical era.
Musicians performing are Soundarie David Rodrigo, piano; Lakshman Joseph de Saram, violin; Othman Hassan Majid, violin; Avanti Perera, viola; and Peter O’Reilly, cello.
In association with Rikskonsertene (Concerts Norway) and the Embassy of Norway and Premier Sponsor Fairway Holdings Ltd. Tickets at the Goethe Institute.