Sunday Aug 25

Pandora pays off with Mozart

I'm hearing this amazing piece over my Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart channel on Pandora. It's a small string group, kind of like a quartet, but not quite. The music is transporting, ethereal yet easy, relaxed yet gripping. I checked the screen and found that I was being transported by Mozart's String Quintet in g minor K. 516, a piece I don't recall ever having heard before. Since I didn't know when Pandora's rotation might bring it up again, I decided to find it on CD and make it my own permanently. I was smart enough to take note of the cover illustration showing a portrait of an 18th century lady.

Mozart Quintets

It took a bit of digging but I finally found the original Harmonia Mundi CD issue (released in 1993) available through Amazon. It's number 907059 and as of today (07/12/2014) there are still a few copies available at reasonable cost.  And the disc includes two additional Quintets:  K.581 in A major for clarinet and strings and K.407 in E-flat major for horn and strings. Each of those is almost as stunning as the g minor for strings.

The performances are impeccable and bear the overall credit "Music from Aston Magna." Daniel Stepner is the artistic director. The players are

  • Erich Hoeprich, basset clarinet
  • Lowell Greer, natural horn
  • Anthony Martin, viola
  • Linda Quan, violin
  • Nancy Wilson, violin
  • David Miller, viola
  • Loretta O'Sullivan, violoncello

The recorded sound fully matches the excellence of the music.  For this the credit goes to recording engineer Peter McGrath and producer Paul F. Witt.  The recording was made in Olin Auditorium, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson.  Finally the lady who appears on the cover was painted by Allan Ramsay and hangs in the Scottish National Gallery. Its title is The Artist's Wife.