The “American” string quartet is one of Antonín Dvořák’s most famous chamber music works. It is a light-hearted and care-free work in the pastoral key of F major, with which the composer was determined to continue the tradition line of the classical string quartet: “When I wrote this quartet [...],” Dvořák said, “I wanted to write something for once that was very melodious and straightforward, and dear Papa Haydn kept appearing before my eyes, and that is why it all turned out so simply”. Cellist Stephan Koncz has arranged Dvořák’s pièce de résistance for flute, violin, viola and violoncello so that his Philharmoniker colleague Emmanuel Pahud has the opportunity in this concert to slip into the role of the leader of a string quartet.
It is preceded by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Flute Quartet in D major, K. 285, an intimate and melodic work whose central movement does not come to a real conclusion but leads directly into the final rondo in which true melodic fireworks are set off. The concert also includes an operatic paraphrase from Mozart’s opera Mitridate, re di Ponto for flute, clarinet and strings, again from the pen of Stephan Koncz. The stage work, Mozart’s first opera seria, full of poignant scenes of despair, emotional farewells and furious outbursts of anger, premiered in Milan on 26 December 1770, and was repeated around 20 times to a full house: “Our son’s opera,” Leopold Mozart wrote proudly to Salzburg on 5 January 1771, “continues to enjoy universal acclaim [...].”
More than 150 years later, Heitor Villa-Lobos wrote his Chôros No. 2 for flute and clarinet which, with its simultaneously ever-changing time signatures and different rhythms, has the effect of a spontaneous improvisation. This stylistically diverse concert closes with Carl Maria von Weber’s hugely energetic Clarinet Quintet, op. 34, in which the clarinet solo, played by Andreas Ottensamer, is very much the centre of attention with its brilliant, extensive, coloratura-like runs.