It’s been a while since we’ve had any Mozart for Wednesday Music, right? (I hope I’m right about this because I’m very uninspired to check at the moment.) Today’s piece is Mozart’s Serenade No. 10 for winds in B flat major, K. 361/370a. Here’s a bit about it.
- This piece is better known by its subtitle “Gran Partita,” even though this subtitle is misspelled and Mozart himself didn’t even write it on the music.
- The piece has seven movements and is scored for two oboes, two clarinets, two basset horns, two bassoons, four horns, and one double bass. All the other instruments make sense, but the double bass is so random, if you ask me.
- My favorite movement of this piece is the third, which is an Adagio (a slow movement). In fact, this third movement is in the award-winning movie Amadeus, when Salieri picks up the score and realizes how brilliant it is. He says that he was hearing the “voice of God”* in this third movement. If you want to skip ahead to the third movement, it’s at the 18:15 mark in the video I have embedded below.
Or click here to see on YouTube.
*The full quotation is: “On the page it looked nothing. The beginning simple, almost comic. Just a pulse. Bassoons and basset horns, like a rusty squeezebox. And then suddenly, high above it, an oboe. A single note, hanging there, unwavering. Until a clarinet took over and sweetened it into a phrase of such delight! This was no composition by a performing monkey! This was a music I’d never heard. Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing, it had me trembling. It seemed to me that I was hearing the voice of God.”