Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Serenade No. 10 for winds in B flat major ("Gran Partita"), K. 361 (K. 370a)

    Description by Brian Robins

    Music for wind ensemble played an important role in Mozart's Austria. Known as Harmoniemusik, such ensembles were based on a nucleus of a pair of bassoons to provide the bass, and two horns. Upper parts were provided by one or more pairs of treble winds, most frequently oboes and clarinets. Dispositions of this kind not only formed the basis of military bands, but also the Hausmusik of the lesser nobility, for whom wind ensembles were not only cheaper than employing a full orchestra, but also had the advantage of being suitable for both outdoor and indoor performance. Mozart himself introduces one function of Harmoniemusik in the supper scene of Don Giovanni, where the Don is seen enjoying his supper to the accompaniment of some of the popular operatic tunes of the day played by his own wind ensemble.

    During his earlier years in Salzburg, Mozart composed eight wind divertimentos, works almost certainly designed for outdoor use, and primarily intended to fall pleasingly on the ear as little more than background music. Mozart being Mozart, many movements, of course, transcend such modest pretensions. Nevertheless, the three great wind serenades Mozart composed after settling in Vienna in 1781 elevate the form to unprecedented heights. While only one, the Serenade in C Minor, K. 388, can be dated with any degree of certainty, it appears that all three were composed during the composer's first two years in Vienna. The first and most obvious difference between the Serenade in B flat and its Salzburg predecessors is the huge expansion in scale, both in terms of instrumentation and length. Instead of six (or eight) instruments, K. 361 is scored for no less than thirteen--pairs of oboes, clarinets, basset horns (lower pitched members of the clarinet family), horns in F and B flat, and bassoons, with the bottom line strengthened by a string double bass. The presence of a double bass suggests that the work was intended for indoor rather than outdoor performance; this notion is augmented by the first recorded performance, which took place at a benefit concert given on March 23, 1784 at the Burgtheater in Vienna. The concert was to benefit Mozart's friend Anton Stadler, a brilliant clarinetist and basset horn player for whom he later composed both the Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581 and Concerto in A major, K. 622. A member of the audience who heard the performance recorded the effect it made on him: "...glorious and sublime! It consisted of thirteen instruments...At each instrument sat a master--oh, what an effect it made--glorious and grand, excellent and sublime." One curious aspect of the report by this enthusiastic auditor is that he mentions the work as being in four movements, whereas K. 361 has no less than seven: Largo - Molto allegro; Menuetto; Adagio; Menuetto (Allegretto); Romance; Theme and Variations; Finale (Molto allegro). This leads to the conclusion that Stadler's "first" performance only included part of the work, a procedure frequently followed in early published editions. Whatever the somewhat mysterious background to this unique work, modern listeners will surely echo those sentiments penned over 200 years ago -- glorious, grand, excellent, and sublime are indeed just epithets.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Largo - Molto allegro
    2. Menuetto & Trio 1, 2
    3. Adagio
    4. Menuetto & Trio 1, 2. Allegretto
    5. Romance. Adagio - Allegretto
    6. Theme with 6 Variations. Andante
    7. Finale. Molto allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Menuetto Classics
    2018 SWR Music SWR 19066CD
    2018 Münchner Philharmoniker 793052112547
    2017 LSO Live LSO 5075
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796314
    2016 Linn / Linn Records CKD 516
    2016 Divine Art DDA 25136
    2016 Challenge Classics CC 72697
    2015 Decca
    2014 I Solisti Records ISR 06351
    2014 Tacet TACET 209BDA
    2014 Musica Viva MV 101
    2014 RCA Red Seal 88843006072
    2013 Decca 4785437
    2013 CPO 7776182
    2013 Decca / Mercury 4785092
    2013 Alto ALC 1208
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 Tacet TACET 209
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2012 Krescendo Records / Zebralution
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099995681
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 Teldec
    2012 La Dolce Volta LDV 1124
    2012 Rondo RCD 8374
    2011 Editions Hortus HORTUS 071
    2011 ZYX CLA 101162
    2010 Decca
    2010 Auris Subtilis / CAvi-music 7771012
    2010 Decca 422 338-2PH
    2010 Decca
    2010 Sony Classical 8869776152
    2010 Summit Records 538
    2009 Sony Classical 752307
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Calliope 5317
    2009 Glossa GCDC 80605
    2009 Naïve NC 40006
    2008 Decca 4780316
    2008 Decca
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93696
    2008 EMI Classics 3361512
    2008 JVC Compact Discs 24035
    2008 Decca 4580962
    2008 EMI Classics
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099921530
    2008 Naim 117
    2008 Philips 4646602
    2007 Harmonia Mundi 987071
    2007 Koch International Classics 7735
    2007 Koch International 7687
    2007 COE 242
    2007 EMI Classics 87894
    2007 Philips
    2006 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon / Philips / Universal Classics & Jazz
    2006 COE / COE Records CDCOS507
    2006 Teldec
    2006 Sony Classical Essential Classics 82876884552
    2006 Alba 219
    2006 Accent 30042
    2006 COE Records CDCOE804
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 4775750
    2006 Onyx ONYX 4012
    2006 Universal Classics & Jazz
    2006 EMI Classics
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 43424
    2006 EMI Classics
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 53206
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 4775222
    2006 Universal Classics & Jazz
    2006 Philips
    2006 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243476918
    2006 Hungaroton 32414
    2005 Warner Classics 2564623352
    2005 Naxos 8 556751
    2005 Audiophile Classics 101530
    2005 Nederlands Blazers Ensemble 17
    2005 Harmonia Mundi 2961570
    2005 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 4775756
    2005 Brilliant 92540
    2004 Teldec / Warner Classics 4608662
    2004 Calliope 3317/9
    2004 Brilliant 92388
    2004 Mark Custom Recording 5440
    2003 CPO 999822
    2003 EMI Classics
    2003 NY Philomusica Records 30014
    2002 Music & Arts MACD1097
    2002 History 205645
    2002 Glossa 920605
    2001 MDG 3011077
    2001 Classico 355
    2001 BIS 1010
    2001 Cascavelle 1064
    2001 ASV 242
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 67645
    2001 Rondo Grammofon 8370
    2000 Klavier Records KCD11104
    2000 Philips 464 790-2PB11
    2000 Naxos 553226
    1999 Accent 68642
    1999 Masterpiece 90037
    1998 London 455 794-2LC3
    1998 Mercury 434 399-2MM
    1997 Astree 8605
    1997 Sony Classical 62651
    1997 Harmonia Mundi 901570
    1997 Arts Music 47281
    1996 Rene Gailly 87119
    1996 EMI Music Distribution 69392
    1995 Sony Music Distribution 58950
    1995 Capriccio Records 10472
    1995 Philips 446227
    1995 Philips 446 222-2PB25
    1994 EMI Music Distribution 555155-2
    1994 Naxos 550060
    1994 Harmonia Mundi 1903051
    1994 Telarc Distribution 80359
    1994 Chandos 6575
    1993 ESS.A.Y. / Essay Recordings 1020
    1993 Arabesque 6617
    1993 ASV Digital 770
    1993 ASV 804
    1993 Vanguard 8009
    1992 Vox 5014
    1991 Sony Music Distribution 46248
    1990 Teldec 2292-46471-2
    1990 Philips 422505
    1987 Philips 412726
    Philips 422500
    History 205647-303
    K&K Verlagsanstalt 25
    Cetra 2046
    Orfeo 188891
    Brilliant 92627
    Brilliant 92627/17
    Teldec
    Calliope 9317
    Disques Pierre Verany 793031
    Nuova Era 7276
    L'Oiseau-Lyre 421437
    Brilliant Classics 93669/30
    Harmonia Mundi 77540
    Teldec 42981
    EMI Music Distribution 4579
    RCA 77540
    Teldec 243003
    Brilliant 92388/30
    Deutsche Grammophon 431689
    Teldec 903172481
    Harmonia Mundi 2981570
    RCA 60873
    Sipario Dischi 41
    Multisonic 310078
    BBC Music Magazine 62
    ASV 413