Quintets for Piano and Winds
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Quintet for piano and winds in E flat major KV 452
Ludwig van Beethoven
Quintet for piano and winds in E flat major Op. 16
The two composers themselves played the piano part of their Quintet for Piano and Winds, both written in the same key of E flat major. Mozart said in 1784 that it was “the best work of his life”. It was also the first written for this formation. With its mixture of virtuosity and depth, it is infinitely rich and gives, as jazz will do later, the possibility for each instrumentalist to express themselves by showing their talent. With this unparalleled masterpiece, Mozart reaches the pinnacle of his art. The young Beethoven took him as a model when he composed his own Quintet Op. 16 in 1796, going so far as to use a theme from Don Giovanni, Zerline's aria "Batti, batti, o bel Masetto", in the second movement. Always a prankster, he amused himself at the expense of his performers during an audition in Munich where he improvised all sorts of variations in the last allegro, preventing the other musicians from playing as they continually put their instruments in their mouths. Karl Czerny who did the same thing sometime later was sharply reprimanded by Beethoven...