WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756–91)
Serenade for 13 Winds, Gran Partita (1781)
Perhaps Mozart’s envious fellow-composer Antonio Salieri’s words in Peter Schaffer’s play Amadeus describe the exquisiteness of the Gran Partita best: “…This was a music I’d never heard. Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing. It seemed to me that I was hearing the voice of God.” Surely this grand serenade must qualify as one of Mozart’s greatest compositions and a supreme gift to wind players the world over. Its magisterial length of nearly one-hour, divided into seven movements, traverses an abundant variety of moods and tempos, one more beautiful than the next. The instrumentation consists of pairs of oboes, clarinets, basset horns, and bassoons, four horns, and a double bass (though today the Gran Partita may be performed without the latter). While every movement offers charms, delights, and marvels, the emotional heart of the Gran Partita lies within the ethereal Adagio, as Salieri describes it above. Whether you’re captivated by the serenade’s liveliness, lyricism, virtuosity, or sheer beauty, your experience of this magnificent work will make for an unforgettable encounter with Mozart’s genius.