By Néstor CASTIGLIONE
The popular image of Mozart is that of the precocious boy genius who composed astoundingly mature and original music at an age that most other children are barely learning to cope with basic arithmetic. The truth is a little more complicated than that.
Mozart was no doubt a wunderkind: gifted with a natural affinity for music that had him performing before the most august personages of his age while still of elementary school age. Indeed, he began composing in earnest in this period. But if one were to be honest, the music from this period, while admirably constructed, follows others and never establishes a voice of its own. It wasn’t until the boy had become a young man in his 20s that Mozart would begin to compose music that was fresh, original and displaying a consummate mastery of compositional craft. It is this music for which he is rightfully remembered – and his “String Quartet in G, K. 387” was among the first of his later works that refined his already remarkable qualities even further.
The inaugural quartet in a set of six that the composer would dedicate to his friend and mentor Franz Joseph Haydn, it was a work that left its dedicatee astonished.
“Before God and as an honest man,” said the elder composer to Mozart’s father, Leopold, “I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name.” It is this quartet that the Fiato Quartet will be performing on Saturday at the Edendale Branch Library in Silverlake.
Accompanying the Mozart on the program will be Beethoven’s “String Quartet No. 7 in F, Op. 59, no. 1,” itself the inaugural work in a set of three quartets known as the “Razumovsky” quartets, after the Russian nobleman who commissioned the works. The work itself was a breakthrough not only for Beethoven personally, but for the quartet genre as a whole. Beethoven pushed the boundaries of what the form could express, enriching its vocabulary. Its initial reception by contemporary audiences was respectful, if cool. Today the work, along with its Op. 59 companions, make up the “middle period” quartets that displays Beethoven’s art at its full maturity.
Performances of both works will take place at the Edendale Branch Library (2011 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles on Saturday, June 10 at noon. Admission is free to the public. Free parking is available in the adjacent library lot entering through the Alvarado Boulevard side.
For more details, visit http://edendaleupclose.blogspot.com/?m=1 or http://fiatoquartet.com.