Quintet for Strings

"Attacchi continui"
on a purpose-selected tone row


1. Allegro molto
2. Adagio molto
3. Prestissimo
4. Lento
5. Vivace

Date Duration Listen
16 June 2012 38'01" Realization (.MP3) Score (.PDF)
52.2 MB 997 KB

Ah, string quintets! Boccherini's many dozens alone - with their irresistible panache and urgency - are sufficient to immortalize the form; and the half-dozen Mozart left us represent some of his finest writing in any form: the epitome of the Mannheim school's galant style. Mozart's quintets are, in fact, so perfect, that Beethoven only saw fit to write a single representative of the form, his Opus 29, which this observer believes to be the greatest extended musical joke of all time. All four movements are exaggerated parodies of that Mannheim style - never crude or mean, mind you, but simply perfectly extended to the nth degree in such a way that you have to laugh, at the same time you're wondering at the balance, beauty, and mastery of the whole.

Yours truly is, of course, neither a Beethoven, nor a Mozart, nor even, alas, a Boccherini; but a certain sense of urgency does, I believe, also permeate this humble little piece: a thoroughly 20th-century urgency partaking only slightly of any Enlightenment styles, much less any galant ones. Whether that urgency is resistible, or the piece as a whole a joke, must be judged by minds subtler than mine.

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