On 15 February our Belgian neighbours performed all the way in the North of the Netherlands: Ensemble Oxalys, residing in Brussels, was a guest in the Aduard Abbey in Groningen, the Netherlands with quintets for wind players and piano by Pleyel, Mozart, and Beethoven, respectively.
The three works that will be played are unique in a way. The combination of the keyboard with four wind players demands great skill of the composer. Mozart as well as Beethoven wrote only one work with this composition.
For 28-year-old Mozart, the year 1784 was the year of the "wind players" in a sense.
A benefit concert was organised for him where both the famous "Grand Partita" and the piano quintet "KV 452" – written especially for this occasion – were performed. The wind instruments contrast with the keyboard in again and again new variations, a series of short motifs stringed together, reaching a fundamental and tight unity.
That’s how the first-ever work ever written for this composition became a masterpiece thanks to Mozart’s brilliance.
His admiration for Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) is common knowledge. In the year 1784 he expressed these feelings. The following passage from a letter is therefore very curious: "Dann sind Quartette von einem gewissen Pleyel vorhanden, dieser ist ein Schüler von Joseph Haydn….Er ist die Mühe wert…… Sie sind sehr gut geschrieben und sehr angenehm. Sie werden auch gleich einen Meister herauskennen. Pleyel ist im Stande, uns Haydn zu remplaceren "(!) Ignaz Pleyel (1757-1831) was a composer, piano builder, and music publisher, a student of Haydn and publisher of his 68 string quartets. Just like his mentor, Pleyel has a large and versatile body of work. A Pleyel instrument is still a household name; the company still exists. They built their own concert hall, the "Salle Pleyel".
Beethoven‘s quintet Op. 16 was created in 1796. The 26-year-old composer stood at the beginning of his career. De 26-jarige componist stond aan het begin van zijn loopbaan. The influence of Haydn and Mozart is evidently still present. It’s very probable that Beethoven was inspired by the quintet by Mozart during the writing of this quintet. He also quotes Mozart by incorporating a theme from "Don Giovanni". Also in the year 1796, he arranged the quintet to a piano quartet with three string instruments.
The Ensemble Oxalys are: Jean-Claude Vanden Eynde (piano), Arie van der Beek (oboe), Nathalie Lefèvre (clarinet), Geert Philips (bassoon), Simon Haspeslagh (horn).
Also visit this website for more information about Ensemble Oxalys
Recording technique: Jaap Zijp
Production: Rolf Buijs