INKPOT#90 CLASSICAL MUSIC REVIEWS: MOZART Gran Partita – An Inktroduction with Recommendations

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Melanie Parham says:

The review of Mozart’s Gran Partita was written by Adrian Tan, and titled “An Inktroduction with Recommendations.” The author of this review focuses mainly on the sounds of the music itself, and he also makes many remarks on the emotional impact of dissections of the music in the piece. He points out the diving nature of the “soaring oboe line of the Adagio that never fails to bring a tear to one’s eye. This is a sound so pure and beautiful.” In addition, he compliments Mozart on his ability to successfully bond a wide variety of wind instruments together without muddling the cohesion of the sound. He describes the sound using words like “colors” and “textures.” Tan writes that the last movement “is a set of variations on an Andante theme, returning to the key of B-flat major” and that it is an adaptation of the Flute Quartet in C major. He writes “The finale is a quick rondo of great charm and wit, with the usual dose of Mozartian humour, to round up the piece in a most rousing fashion.” Tan also notes the difficulty of playing the piece, stating that “The Serenade was certainly composed with no ordinary wind players in mind. Individual parts do not demand startling technical virtuosity but rigorous demands are made,” and “The double reed instruments are incredibly difficult to play…making especially great demands on the musicians’ sense of pitch.” Finally, he notes that despite the lack of demand for technical skill, it takes a truly talented musician to create a truly beautiful and relaxed tone.
Tan breaks up the piece by movement, commenting on the musicality, purpose, and effect of each movement. He notes that “Mozart passes the theme from instrument to instrument, allowing each unique colour to shine though momentarily before another takes over.” In an emotional sense, Tan comments that the Adagio is beautiful, especially in the instance “when the solo clarinet takes over the theme from the oboe. In some performances, the transition is seamless, creating a magical effect of one sound transmuting into another.” He describes the first and third movements as elegiac and the middle Allegretto section as “quirky and unsettling like a burlesque.”
Another aspect this reviewer focused on was the history behind the piece. He mentioned that Mozart composed the Serenade during a time when he “left the service of the Archbishop of Salzburg, a post that he called his ‘slavery,’ little knowing that he was from then on destined to lead the life of a wandering freelance musician and eventually to die a pauper.” Tan later notes that Mozart was inspired by wind players in 1781 on his leave of absence in Munich because he had to prepare “Idomeneo with the Bavarian Court Theatre in the hopes of obtaining the position of royal court composer,” which he never did. Tan also notes where he was first exposed to this piece, which was through the movie Amadeus, which could possibly affect his perception of the piece.
This was a good review because it did a wonderful job of describing the music in different kinds of ways. Even though the author notes that due to the diversity of wind instruments, the piece would typically be hard for an ordinary composer to create, he does not criticize these instruments for being different. He just notes that Mozart’s success in creating this masterpiece, despite the difficulty of combining the wide range of instruments, made this piece even more of a feat.

Review written by Melanie Parham