Gewandhaus Quartet and contrabassist Steffen Adelmann perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (also known as the Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major), K. 525. The German title of the piece literally means “a little night music”. Composed in 1787, it is one of the most emblematic pieces of classical music. Recorded in 2005 in the stunning surroundings of the Rammenau Baroque Castle, e only fully preserved manor in Saxony.
- Frank-Michael Erben (1st violin)
- Conrad Suske (2nd violin)
- Volker Metz (viola)
- Jürnjakob Timm (cello)
- Steffen Adelmann (double bass)
Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade No. 13)
Mozart wrote this piece for an ensemble of two violins, viola, cello, and double bass, but is also often performed by string orchestras.
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’ is doubtlessly Mozart’s most famous work of chamber music. During the late 18th century, such light entertainment ensemble pieces enjoyed immense success and were often performed during social occasions, particularly in outdoor locations such as gardens and parks.
The four-movement serenade opens with an allegro in sonata form, followed by a slower, lyrical second movement and a minuet, and finishes on an energetically joyful rondo. The melodic lightness and effortlessness typical for this genre of music are present throughout all four movements.
Movements (with start times in the video above):
- (00:00) Allegro. This first movement is in sonata-allegro form. It opens with an ascending Mannheim rocket theme. The second theme is more graceful and in D major, the dominant key of G major. The exposition closes in D major and is repeated. The development section begins on D major and touches on D minor and C major before the work returns to G major for the recapitulation.
- (05:22) Romance (Andante). The second movement, with the tempo marked Andante, is a Romanze in the subdominant key of C major. It is in rondo form, taking the shape A-B-A-C-A plus a final coda. The keys of the sections are C major for A and B, and C minor for C. The middle appearance of A is truncated, consisting of only the first half of the theme. Daniel Heartz describes the movement as evoking a gavotte rhythm: each of its sections begins in the middle of the measure, with a double upbeat.
- (10:56) Menuetto (Allegretto). The third movement marked Allegretto, is a minuet and trio, both in 3/4 time. The minuet is in the home key of G major, and the contrasting trio is in the dominant key of D major. As is normal in this form, the minuet is played again da capo following the trio.
- (13:06) Rondo (Allegro). The finale of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is in lively tempo, marked Allegro; the key is again G major. The movement is written in sonata form. Mozart specifies repeats not just for the exposition section but also for the following development and recapitulation section. The recapitulation’s first theme is unusual because only its last two bars return in the parallel minor. The work ends with a long coda.
The Gewandhaus Quartet (also named Leipzig Gewandhaus Quartet) was founded in 1808 and is considered one of the first professional quartets in the world. It is composed of the soloists and concertmasters of the Gewandhaus Orchestra.
Throughout the years, numerous premieres of quartets by renowned composers have been performed by the Gewandhaus Quartet.
- Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 [Pierre-Laurent Aimard] - September 19, 2023
- Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata (Full) [Eric Zivian, fortepiano] - September 19, 2023
- Pavarotti sings Non Ti Scordar di Me at the Madison Square Garden, New York  - September 17, 2023