The ‘Sinfonia Concertante’ in E flat for violin and viola, K364, is an iconic work for many Mozart lovers, and arguably the greatest music he wrote in Salzburg. Yet, frustratingly, we know nothing about its origins. Apart from a sketch for the first-movement cadenza, the autograph has disappeared. Neither Mozart nor any of his contemporaries ever mentioned the work. It seems fair to assume that, inspired by the sinfonie concertanti he had encountered in Paris and Mannheim, he composed it, in summer or autumn 1779, for himself to play with the Salzburg court Konzertmeister Antonio Brunetti. But this remains guesswork.
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer: Abraham Skernick, Rafael Druian, Judith Raskin
Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra
Conductor: George Szell
Number of discs: 1
DR-Analysis: DR 13
Size: 976 MB
While we should beware of reading Mozart’s music as emotional autobiography, it is tempting to relate the Sinfonia concertante’s darker undercurrents, rising to the surface in the C minor Andante, to his smouldering discontent with his Salzburg servitude. Less speculatively, the sonorous richness of the orchestral writing, with violas divided throughout, reflects Mozart’s contact with the crack Mannheim orchestra – though, needless to say, the power and technical mastery of the Sinfonia concertante surpass any possible models.
The work’s special tinta is determined by the husky timbre of the viola, Mozart’s own favourite string instrument. As Charles Rosen memorably observed in The Classical Style: ‘The very first chord…gives the characteristic sound, which is like the sonority of the viola translated into the language of the full orchestra.’ There is a sonorous depth to this opening Allegro maestoso, together with a quintessentially Mozartian expressive ambivalence. The initial entry of the soloists, suspended high above the orchestra’s cadential phrases, is one of the most magical moments in any Mozart concerto; and as several performances reveal, the music’s grandeur, poetry and almost erotic yearning need not preclude a vein of frisky playfulness reminiscent of Mozart’s violin concertos. The Andante is a transfigured love duet triste that touches depths of desolation found elsewhere only in the Andantino of the Jeunehomme Piano Concerto, K271, and the Adagio of the A major Piano Concerto, K488. Mozart’s own cadenza then pushes the music to a new pitch of chromatic pathos. After the bereft, disconsolate close, the contredanse finale, virtually unshadowed by the minor key, bounds in with a glorious sense of physical relief.
As a born musical democrat Mozart gives the soloists absolutely equal billing. He also brightens the viola’s innate duskiness with a scordatura tuning – writing the part in D major, with the strings tuned up a semitone. This increases the string tension, and brings the resonant open strings into play: essential in performances using gut strings; less crucial with the more powerful, metal-strung modern viola.
|Sinfonia Concertante In E-Flat Major For Violin, Viola And Orchestra, K. 364|
|A1||I – Allegro Maestoso||12:53|
|A2||II – Andante||11:56|
|A3||III – Presto||6:00|
|Exsultate, Jubilate, K. 165|
|B1||I – Allegro||5:20|
|B2a||II – Recitativo; Andante||7:42|
|B2b||III – Vivace (Alleluja)||2:30|
Analyzed folder: /96k WAM – Sinfonia Concertante – Exultate Jubilate – Szell
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR12 -1.30 dB -17.87 dB A1 Sinfonia Concertante In E-Flat Major For Violin, Viola And Orchestra, K. 364 – I – Allegro Maestoso.aif
DR14 -2.77 dB -21.15 dB A2 Sinfonia Concertante In E-Flat Major For Violin, Viola And Orchestra, K. 364 – II – Andante.aif
DR13 -1.74 dB -19.14 dB A3 Sinfonia Concertante In E-Flat Major For Violin, Viola And Orchestra, K. 364 – III – Presto.aif
DR12 -1.61 dB -18.62 dB B1 Exsultate, Jubilate, K. 165 – I – Allegro.aif
DR12 -3.92 dB -20.92 dB B2 Exsultate, Jubilate, K. 165 – II – Recitativo- Andante.aif
DR12 -0.82 dB -17.63 dB B3 Exsultate, Jubilate, K. 165 – III – Vivace (Alleluja).aif
Number of files: 6
Official DR value: DR13
- RCM: Okki Nokki (L’art du son, Clearaudio’s Diamond Cleaner)
- TT: Vintage (1982) Yamaha PX-3
Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
- Cartridge: ZYX 50R Bloom
- Phono amp: Audio Research SP15 own tube phono section
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Pre Amp: Audio Research SP15
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
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- Software: iZotope RX 4 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
- Super light de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no de-noising
- DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
- Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
- Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5
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