Chamber Music of Mozart

A Blessing of Inconceivable Richness
1: A Blessing of Inconceivable Richness

Mozart's chamber music ranks among his finest work, making it some of the greatest music ever written. We will listen to a few selections as a preview of the extraordinary pieces of chamber music we will study....

47 min
The Hunt
2: The Hunt

Mozart's String Quartet in Bb Major, K. 458, subtitled "The Hunt," exemplifies the Viennese Classical style at its zenith. In this work, we will see how Mozart connected and metamorphosed musical ideas, and appreciate his advanced compositional technique....

46 min
The Hunt, Part 2
3: The Hunt, Part 2

Our in-depth analysis of Mozart's "Hunt" Quartet will reveal the workings of sonata form, the most important musical structural innovation of the Classical era. This work also provides an opportunity to observe the compositional details that set Mozart's music apart....

45 min
The Flute Quartet in D Major
4: The Flute Quartet in D Major

In this lecture and the next, we will look at Mozart's life before he settled in Vienna, and examine his Flute Quartet in D Major, K. 285, of 1777. It features a flute solo that the great musicologist Alfred Einstein described as "perhaps the most beautiful accompanied solo ever written for the flute."...

44 min
Vienna
5: Vienna

Mozart plunged into the musical life of Vienna as a composer and performer. His first big splash came with the "Auernhammer" Sonatas for Violin and Piano, published in December, 1781. The Sonata K. 380 exemplifies these works, which feature the violin and piano as equal partners in an ongoing musical conversation....

45 min
Haydn and Inspiration
6: Haydn and Inspiration

Mozart was 25 when he met 49-year-old Joseph Haydn. Although very different personalities, they quickly became good friends. Haydn's biographer, Karl Geiringer, claimed that Mozart learned to compose string quartets solely from Haydn. In this lecture, we study the "Haydn" String Quartet in G Major, K. 387....

45 min
Exclusively For His Friends
7: Exclusively For His Friends

Many of Mozart's chamber works were written to be performed by his friends. The Oboe Quartet of 1781 was composed for the great oboist Friedrich Ramm. Mozart's Horn Quintet of 1782 was written for Joseph Leutgeb, a master of the hand-horn. This lecture also examines three of Mozart's demanding Twelve Duos for Horn, written, according to Mozart, "while bowling."...

46 min
Duos For Violin and Viola
8: Duos For Violin and Viola

Mozart's collaborations with composer Michael Haydn-who is less well known today, but was highly respected in his time-caused huge problems of attribution for posterity. Mozart's two Duets for Violin and Viola, K. 423 and K. 424, are cases in point. He wrote them "as" Michael Haydn, who was too ill to fulfill a commission for them....

46 min
Not Just a Pretty Face
9: Not Just a Pretty Face

Mozart's major works were never perceived as "easy listening" during his life. His dark and dissonant String Quartet in D Minor, K. 421, completed in 1783, represents the kind of music that challenged Mozart's audiences. His third "Haydn" Quartet in E flat Major, K. 428, is a striking contrast. It contains the most explicitly Haydnesque music of all the "Haydn" quarte...

47 min
Blowin' in the Winds
10: Blowin' in the Winds

Mozart's Quintet in E flat Major for Piano, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, and Bassoon, K. 452, 1784, was, he believed, the best work he had composed to that point. Two years later, inspired by the great clarinetist Anton Stadler, he composed the Trio in E flat Major for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano, K. 498. Mozart's compositions for clarinet remain the core repertoire for that instrument....

47 min
The Piano Trios
11: The Piano Trios

Mozart virtually invented the piano trio as we understand it today, and composed six of them. This lecture examines the Divertimento in Bb Major, K. 254; the Piano Trio in B flat Major, K. 502, 1786; and the Piano Trio in E Major, K. 542, 1788. At this time, Mozart's finances and health were in disarray, yet still he composed beautiful, technically perfect music at breakneck speed....

46 min
The Piano Quartets
12: The Piano Quartets

By the mid to late 1780s, Mozart no longer tried to appeal to a mass audience. This refusal to "dumb down" his music is most apparent in his two piano quartets, written between 1785 and 1786. They are large-scale works in terms of their length and grandeur of conception....

45 min
String Quartet in A Major, K. 464
13: String Quartet in A Major, K. 464

In this lecture, we examine the fifth of Mozart's "Haydn" Quartets, the String Quartet in A Major, K. 464. Musicologist Alan Kriegsman described this work as "the most stunning example of musical craftsmanship among the six 'Haydn' Quartets."...

46 min
The String Quintets
14: The String Quintets

By the 1780s, Mozart's artistic vision had gone far beyond that of his contemporaries. His string quintets did not sell well, although posterity has benefited from his desire to challenge this difficult medium. In this lecture, we examine four string quintets-all are transcendental masterworks....

46 min
Dissonance-Musical and Financial
15: Dissonance-Musical and Financial

Mozart completed his String Quartet in C Major, K. 465, the so-called "Dissonant" Quartet, in 1785. This sixth and last of Mozart "Haydn" Quartets exhibits an expressive depth and a dark side that exceeded what was then considered appropriate and tasteful. By the late 1780s, Mozart's "difficult" music so alienated his Viennese patrons that his financial situation turn...

47 min
Basset Horns and Harmonicas
16: Basset Horns and Harmonicas

Mozart wrote his Clarinet Quintet, K. 581, of 1790, and his Clarinet Concerto, K. 622, of 1791, for the basset clarinet (or basset horn), invented by Anton Stadler, one of the finest clarinetists of his day. Mozart's last chamber composition was his Adagio in C Minor and Rondo in C Major for Flute, Oboe, Viola, 'Cello, and Glass Harmonica, K. 617....

47 min
Robert Greenberg

For thousands of years cultures have celebrated themselves through their music. Let us always be willing and able to join that celebration by listening as carefully as we can to what, through music, we have to say to one another.

ALMA MATER

University of California, Berkeley

INSTITUTION

San Francisco Performances

About Robert Greenberg

Dr. Robert Greenberg is Music Historian-in-Residence with San Francisco Performances. A graduate of Princeton University, Professor Greenberg holds a Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of California, Berkeley. He has seen his compositions-which include more than 45 works for a wide variety of instrumental and vocal ensembles-performed all over the world, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, England, Ireland, Greece, Italy, and the Netherlands. He has served on the faculties of the University of California, Berkeley; California State University, Hayward; and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and has lectured for some of the most prestigious musical and arts organizations in the United States, including the San Francisco Symphony, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Van Cliburn Foundation, and the Chicago Symphony. For The Great Courses, he has recorded more than 500 lectures on a range of composers and classical music genres. Professor Greenberg is a Steinway Artist. His many other honors include three Nicola de Lorenzo Composition Prizes and a Koussevitzky commission from the Library of Congress. He has been profiled in various major publications, including The Wall Street Journal; Inc. magazine; and the London Times.