The Haydn Effect
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to “Papa Haydn,” who has been called the father of the string quartet because he was instrumental in the development of chamber music. For most of his career Haydn was not only considered the most celebrated composer in Europe, but he also guided and mentored two star pupils: Mozart and Beethoven!
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ORLI SHAHAM • PIANO AND HOST
JOSEPH MORRIS • CLARINET
PAUL MANASTER • VIOLIN
MEREDITH CRAWFORD • VIOLA
TIMOTHY LANDAUER • CELLO
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Clarinet Quartet No. 3 in B-flat Major
arr. Vincent Gambaro
Poco adagio quasi Andante
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Quartet for Piano and Strings, E-flat Major, K. 493*
I N T E R M I S S I O N
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 97, "Archduke"
Andante cantabile, ma però con moto. Poco piu adagio
Allegro moderato - Presto
This concert is generously sponsored by Sandy Smart-Ashburn and Harry Ashburn.
Clarinet Quartet No. 3 in B-flat Major
Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809);
Arr. Vincent Gambaro (1746 – 1810)
Joseph Haydn, who reached adulthood as the Classical era began, is rightly esteemed as the father of many musical traditions-perhaps most notably the string quartet, chamber music’s seminal form. Haydn is credited as the virtual "inventor" of the string quartet, and his catalog currently lists 68 or 69 of them-down from a previous count of over 80, now that some spurious compositions and arrangements have been weeded out.
Haydn’s achievement in the development of chamber music is not just a matter of being first to perfect the combination of four instrumental voices; rather, it goes to the heart of the Classical aesthetic.
The very word “classical” harks back to the perfection of ancient Greece, when the human being was deemed the measure of all things-a viewpoint that was essential to the philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment that prevailed during Haydn’s lifetime.
Chamber music’s central principle is to assign one instrument to harmonic line, an idea that began with four voices-much like the soprano, alto, tenor and bass voices of a mixed chorus. This takes listeners to the very heart of the music, providing an experience that is transcendent in its intimacy, in accordance with the humanistic ideals of the Enlightenment.
It also provides an ideal platform for transcriptions and arrangements by composers such as the Genoese-born Vincent Gambaro, who made his career in Paris and taught at the Paris Conservatory. Like Antonio Vivaldi before him, Gambaro needed a large stock of virtuoso instrumental pieces to challenge his students; unlike Vivaldi, Gambaro had a generous inventory of string quartets by his contemporary Joseph Haydn to draw upon.
As a clarinet specialist, Gambaro adapted the first three movements of Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 9, No. 3 and the final (rondo) movement from Haydn’s Op. 33, No. 3 to create a beautiful chamber work with a demanding clarinet part.
---Consortium Classicum; Dieter Klöcker, clarinet and director
Gambaro freely mixed and matched Haydn's quartet movements to create showpieces like this one. It is a tribute to his abilities as a composer that these works retain their cohesion and charm while also providing a showcase for virtuosic clarinet playing.
Quartet for Piano and Strings, E-flat Major, K. 493
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
To modern listeners, the idea of a quartet comprised of a piano, violin, viola and cello seems unsurprising, if not routine. The piano is nothing if not flexible and “plays well with others,” though its size and dynamic range require careful balancing alongside smaller, bowed instruments.
But during Mozart’s lifetime the piano quartet was literally unheard-of; in fact, the piano was rarely used in chamber music of any kind. Its novelty posed a barrier of entry for Mozart's Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, the second of three works he composed for this combination of instruments. Only the composer Johann Schobert is known to have produced a piano quartet before Mozart; Mozart’s were the first to survive and enter the standard chamber repertory.
The possibility that Schobert influenced Mozart in the composition of these quartets is tantalizing, though the historical record is frustratingly murky. Estimates of Schobert’s birth date vary by as much as 20 years, but we know he was at least 16 years older than Mozart, and possibly as much as 36 years older-definitely a practicing musician in the court of Louis Francois I in Paris when he encountered Leopold Mozart with little Wolfgang, a heralded child prodigy, on the Mozart family’s grand tour of Europe.
Boastfulness was a marketing strategy for Leopold, and his claim that his children (Wolfgang and Nannerl) found Schobert’s music unchallenging reportedly rubbed Schobert the wrong way.
Wolfgang, meanwhile, soaked up the nuanced musical style everywhere he went, and musical scholars credit Schobert as a significant influence. The romantic, poetic qualities of Schobert’s music, cited by Mozart biographer Dyneley Hussey as a stylistic impetus for Mozart, were especially relevant in composing for the piano because of the technological advances bringing the possibility of loud-soft variation and legato playing to the keyboard. According to Hussey, Mozart explicitly quotes Schobert in a number of his piano concertos.
And there’s more to the possible Schobert connection: In 1785, when the 29-year-old Mozart received the commission for the quartets that would include K. 478, his first piano quartet, he had just completed what some scholars call his “year of the piano concerto”-1784, when he wrote five of them, all masterpieces, all mixing Schobertian poetry with Classical elegance.
The music publisher Franz Hoffmeister commissioned three quartets from Mozart in 1785 and received the K. 478 piano quartet the following year. Though he released Mozart from the terms of the commission by saying the quartet was too difficult for sale to amateur musicians, it seems likely that Hoffmeister was expecting a conventionally scored string quartet rather than a piano quartet.
In fact, the boldness of this experiment at a time when Mozart was courting public and professional approval puzzles some scholars. Today we might say that Mozart “doubled down” on his exploration of the form, completing the K. 493 quartet nine months later, in June of 1786, for submission to another publisher. Puzzling? Not to some Mozart fans, including your intrepid annotator, who believes that Mozart continually struggled to balance his impulse to innovate with his desire to ingratiate himself with listeners and patrons.
As always with Mozart, there are musical riches here; the piano part alone is a study in the emerging technology of the instrument. In the first movement, thumping octaves for the pianist’s left hand provide a traditionally percussive keyboard effect, and the development of the piano part is assertive in a way that would have been familiar to 18th-century listeners.
But once they had grown accustomed to this unusual scoring, the larghetto slow movement greeted them with a lyrical piano voice that could not have been fully realized on the harpsichord or clavichord. In the final movement, marked allegretto, Mozart blends all four voices with a mastery that served as a model for future generations of composers, from Beethoven and Brahms to Schumann and Strauss.
---Live at the Helsinki International Maj Lind Piano Competition 2012
Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 97, "Archduke"
Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
And would I trade places with Tracy Samantha Lord for all her wealth and beauty?” asks Elizabeth Imbrie in The Philadelphia Story. “Oh, boy, just ask me.” Chamber music enthusiasts might’ve done better to trade places with Rudolph Joseph Raine Hapsburg. He’s the “archduke” of the Archduke Trio, acknowledged as one of Beethoven’s masterpieces.
Rudolph was a scion of one of Europe’s oldest and most powerful aristocratic families. His uncle was Joseph II, the Holy Roman Emperor who succeeded Rudolph’s grandmother, the legendary Empress Maria Theresa. She ruled the dominion for 40 years, inspiring admiration and fear. Still another Holy Roman emperor, Leopold, was his father.
International power politics was the Hapsburg family business, and Rudolph grew up enjoying all the perks of his family’s global prestige, but without the burdens of governing. Like Maria Theresa-who was trained as a singer and harpsichordist, and wrote two operas-Rudolph was a skilled musician who viewed musical patronage as a serious responsibility. Unlike Maria Theresa, Rudolph had the time to devote himself fully to the arts and culture.
He took his musical studies seriously, and at age 16 rejected the imperial music teacher in favor of the more demanding Beethoven, then 34. He was Beethoven’s foremost composition pupil, a loyal friend and the dedicatee of works including the Hammerklavier Sonata, the Grosse Fuge, the Missa solemnis and the Archduke Trio-Beethoven’s last and finest piano trio.
The Archduke Trio is considered one of the most confident expressions of Beethoven’s middle period, glowing and richly expressive but devoid of the conflict and agonized searching in the quartets and sonatas that came later. He began sketching the trio in the summer of 1810 in the resort town of Baden, where he was nursing his wounds after a romantic disappointment. After initial work he put it aside, taking it up again the following March. A burst of inspiration carried the trio to completion in a scant three weeks.
A sense of ease and poise marks this trio. Its mood is warm and—dare we say it?—even joyful. It expresses the contentment of an urbane, mature soul, rather than the youthful exuberance of, say, the “Pastoral” symphony.
Its construction is traditional, with a stately opening movement followed by a brisk scherzo. In the final movement, an almost celebratory rondo interrupts a formal series of variations, as if joy were elbowing politeness aside. This happy mood coincided with a temporary improvement in Beethoven’s health and hearing; three years later, when encroaching deafness forced him to give up performing in public, Beethoven chose the Archduke Trio for his final concert.'
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