Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The 3 divertimenti, KV 136-138 were written in Salzburg in 1772 when Mozart was 16. He had already written a number of operas and certainly all three divertimenti have a strong operatic flavour They appear to have been written in preparation for his Italian journey and the premiere of his opera Lucio Silla..

Divertimento in D Major, KV 136  

Allegro Assai

The joyful D major divertimento's 1st movement contains a wonderful Turkish style passage for 2nd violins, accompanied by pizzicati in the violas, celli and bassi, while 1st violins comment with their own melody line. The 2nd movement contains beautiful parlando passages following the short and delicate middle section. The final presto's lively 1st violin theme is commented on by the violas with an almost Cherubino style character. The 2nd half of the movement in canonic style is ended by an abrupt tutti chord after which a laughing lone 5 notes from the violas introduce the reprise.

Divertimento in B flat Major, KV 137  
Allegro di molto
Allegro assai

Divertimento in B flat Major has an unusual structure opening with a slow movement followed by a middle movement "Allegro di molto" and the last movement which is a minuet. This suggests that Mozart had recently become acquainted with the work of Giovanni Battista Sammartini whose quartets used the structure of a slow movement followed by two quick movements.

Divertimento in F Major, KV 138  

Divertimento in F Major has been described by Alfred Einstein as “absolutely symphonic”. There is a joyful opening full of youthful verve, containing a relentless and sometimes furious bass line. The second movement opens with a beautiful and ecstatic first violin melody accompanied by a flowing passage in the second violins. The last movement is an energetic rondo with a set of variations played twice. Today’s original performance purists argue that Mozart may have intended some of these divertimenti to be performed by string quartet. We therefore present our warm compliments to them with a doublebass solo in the third variation.

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