WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756–91)
Wind Serenade in C minor (1782)
Subtitled “Nacht Musique” (“Night Music”) this Wind Serenade is sophisticated entertainment with a capital E. Pairs of horns, oboes, clarinets, and bassoons are called on the provide music for a celebratory event, though the specific patron and occasion are unknown to us. But since it’s Mozart who composed it, the music is, not surprisingly, a cut above, and it’s likely that, because of the more serious nature of the work, the original audience may have consisted of more sophisticated listeners. The dramatic key of C Minor gives us an indication that this piece is more solemn than the usual garden variety of outdoor celebrations that serenades were typically composed for. After an intense unison opening, you’ll find the second movement soothing, starting with the clarinet pair conveying a lyrical mood. The Minuet shows Mozart as the master of counterpoint, and in the Allegro he displays his mastery of the variations form. As the serenade approaches its end, suddenly the C Minor has turned to sunny C Major to conclude this delightful masterpiece.