Mozart offers us such a specific flavor of joy, even ecstasy, and so it is at least a little bit odd that one of his sunniest quartets gets shortchanged on stage time. By now you know that Mozart died a poor and unhappy man, or at least that F Murray Abraham was constantly cramping his style.
The “Hoffmeister” quartet, though, was written during a period of great personal and professional happiness. The Marriage of Figaro had been a smashing success – fashionable revelers were even playing reductions of it at parties – and Mozart was enjoying health and familial bliss. Perhaps looking to make some fast cash (saving was not our hero’s forte), he whipped off this clever and vivid number to his publisher Franz Anton Hoffmeister (yes, the one that wrote the dorky viola concerto). It is a quartet that, in its first movement at least, cannot suppress its own delight – like the 18th century equivalent of a baby goat video.
We in Spektral are lovers of contrast. We are keen on presenting you with familiar sounds re-contextualized in their proximity to the brand new. So, Mozart will be having a sonic conversation with two living composers, Anthony Cheung and Samuel Adams, both of whom are here playing in the diminutive world of the vignette.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – String Quartet in D major, K499 "Hoffmeister"
Samuel Adams – Quartet Movement
Anthony Cheung – Bagatelles