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Mozart Piano Quartet in E-flat major, K. 493

May 24, 2019

On today's episode, Bruce Adolphe the resident lecturer of CMS talks about Mozart's Piano Quartet in E-flat major, K. 493. Excerpts performed by Anna Polonsky, piano; Sean Lee, violin; Mark Holloway, viola; and Nicholas Canellakis, cello.

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Welcome to the Inside Chamber Music podcast presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

I'm Bruce Adolphe, Resident Lecturer at CMS, where I started the lecture series in 1992. In 2011, we began livestreaming the lectures on our website. The audio for this podcast comes from the ever growing archive of videos made available live and on demand at ChamberMusicSociety.org We look at the music from a compositional perspective and find parallels in novels, plays and poetry.

Plus we explore historical context and with live musicians in the studio during the lectures, we experiment with performance issues. Our lecture today features Mozart's Piano Quartet in E-flat Major Köchel 493, originally recorded October 2nd, 2013. You're probably thinking or hoping that a Mozart piano quartet has nothing to do with contracts and shutdowns and lockouts and strikes. Actually, there is a connection.

Very brief. So I have to tell you what it is. It's a famous and true story about this piece, The E-flat Major Piano Quartet. Mozart had a contract with his friend and now a publisher, Hoffmeister. And Hoffmeister gave Mozart a contract that said, “You'll be paid to write three and maybe six piano quartets.” And Mozart wrote the first one, which you probably know the G Minor Piano Quartet.

You know, (music) very famous piece. At the time when he wrote it, it was not famous. And as a matter of fact, Hoffmeister didn't like it, and he couldn't sell very many copies. And in a famous letter to Mozart, he wrote that, “If you don't write more popularly and easier music to play, I'm afraid I can't continue publishing your music.” And asked to close the contract.

And that was it. No more piano quartets. What about this one? Mozart wrote this one for nothing. For fun. So, you know, it does relate to a lot of the things that are going on today. But that's basically it. This piece really is if you keep that story in mind, it really is about the love of music in a very special way.

It has a playfulness and an attempt and a complete success to reorganize the way musical syntax can go. When you first hear it, or even if you hear it many times. It's so beautiful and so charming and moving that it might not seem that it actually has a subversive quality of interrupting itself, putting things in the wrong order.

All kinds of charming, funny things that I know he was thinking of. And I'm going to prove all of it to you as if this were a courtroom trial as we go on. Let's hear- could you look at number one, please? That's cue number one. Here's perhaps the opening of the piece. (music) Alright. Thank you. Now, if you know the piece, as I saw a few smiles.

That isn't really how it opens. But everything that you heard there is from the opening of the piece. I cut out some stuff and there's a reason. Could you play the first bars of what you have there? Number one, again, just the opening two bars. (music) That is a very typical opening. Do you know Eine kleine Nachtmusik by any chance? I didn't ask them. Could you play just the opening of that?

You guys, I'm sorry. (music) Alright. And as a matter of fact, let's hear the opening, just the first one, two, three, four bars of the piano trio that I gave you of Mozart. This is Mozart. This is his C Major Piano Trio. These are similar kinds of gestures. All out of order from what I told them, because that's how I like to torture musicians.

Okay. (music) Okay. Now I think what we'll do next is hear number two, excerpt number two. This is not quite the Mozart. I just want you to hear all of these things so that you are completely confused because when you are confused enough and saturated with these sounds, then when you hear the real thing, it'll be a revelation. Okay, here's another possible opening. (music) Now, with that one is... it is a simplified, made, completely symmetrical version of that motif, all of the music comes from the Mozart, except the answer there.

Play that again and you'll see the first two bars are by Mozart. I mean, the first four bars are by Mozart. (music) And this is a fake answer. (music) That would be a homework assignment. You take the first four bars and you're asked, “How do you answer that? What's the correct answer?” That would be the correct answer.

It shows you I'm against testing in the public schools, but it is the correct answer and it's extremely unimaginative and is kind of a disaster. But that's what you would do in school. Luckily, Mozart never went to school, otherwise we would- neither did Gershwin or Aaron Copeland. Otherwise we would really not have the music we have. Now let's hear the actual opening from the beginning.

And you might, if you don't know the piece well, you might be surprised by how it opens. Let's go up to bar 28, which is that big motif. (music) Good. Alright. That's the opening. Now, if you are somebody who knows something about sonata form and what it's supposed to do, you might already, if you in Mozart's time especially, be completely confused.

How many tunes have we heard? And it's just the opening. There's one after another, one idea after another. Because Mozart's playfulness here and this isn't true of a lot of his music is have- the ideas keep pouring out and there's something realistic about it because a form that is completely controlled where you have a motif and you explore only that motif, which can be done brilliantly and often is by Beethoven, for example, is not the most natural thing in life.

For example, if you are having a conversation for real and recording it, it's not likely that you would stick to one topic for very long. It doesn't happen. You would probably move around and have different kinds of things. You would go off on tangents, you would interrupt yourself and talk about something other than what you started talking about.

For example, I could now start talking about Beethoven, who doesn't do that, but I won't. But I interrupted myself and made a comment about it, which even without somebody else, I'm already lost. So what Mozart does is he starts this with not with the opening. (singing) That's your typical opening. He has an introduction to the introduction.

Let's hear that again. Just those first eight bars. (music) Alright. That's got- I pictured that if I were to act this out as if somebody is about to make a speech or perhaps the king is entering and normally- or the prince. And don't forget they had kings and princes and those things then. We still do. But when the prince enters, it's (singing)

But he's late. So let's hear this again and let's imagine the prince coming- go ahead. You're fine. (music) And in that moment, of course, the curtain is unveiled and he's there. So it has this- there's- I already hear this as opera and comedy. Now it's- can you play it that way? It doesn't matter. It's a matter of understanding.

You can't really do much to it. Other than that, however, the very second chord of the piece has become a tradition for a lot of composers because this is already unusual. The first chord- go ahead. (music) The first chord. And the second chord? Okay. The second chord takes the key of E flat and turns it into a dominant. Now, if you know what that means, great.

You can leave. Or, no, you can stay because it gets more interesting. But the first chord is the key. The second chord makes this not in the key of E flat anymore. Now it's temporary, I know, but that insertion of the D flat in the key of E flat right away became a tradition in both the piano quartet and quintet of Schumann, he does that.

Immediately. And I'm sure it's a reference to this. And then Beethoven, one of his most famous pieces. (music) Of course it's the C-sharp there, but it's a D flat later. Also, the key of E-flat also brings that destabilizing note in right away. So not only do you have an introduction to an introduction, but you have a destabilizing sense of harmony which comes back.

It straightens itself out immediately. But it is a little strange at that time. And maybe, and I don't know if it's possible, if you feel that it's strange, it'll be a little stranger, but it's hard to make it strange in 2013 when it's just not that strange anymore. Then we have a whole series of ideas, one idea after another.

I am going to ask the musicians now to play a much shortened version of the opening. It's not going to sound perfect. This is number three, but just listen to it without worrying about how it was edited. Everything is by Mozart. (music) Now, if you don't know the piece, it probably didn't bother you. There might have been a moment that’s strange.

Because for me there's one slightly odd moment because it gets intense a little early for the style, and chromatic, but other than that, all these things fit together. The original exposition of that is 95 bars. What you just heard was 29. I cut 66 measures out of there and it still has a line, it still has quite a few ideas and it still flows.

Now, luckily, he didn't have an editor. You know the old New Yorker cartoon of the editor, book editor who's reading a postcard from the author? And it says, “Wish you were here.” And he just can't figure out what to do with that. Now, let's go on a little bit, because we're still in the exposition.

Now, if you're not sure what an exposition is, that's okay. Nobody's complete- no, that's not true. An exposition in a sonata concept is where all the ideas are introduced, both in the key of the piece, which is the tonic. And then usually in a related key, it can be the relative minor. If it's in a minor key, it can be the dominant.

I want to stress and I know some of you have been coming to the lectures for 20 years, so you know some of these things, but that sonata form is not a strict form. It is a lot like courtroom procedure. It's a procedure. And if you think of it like courtroom procedure, all the questions are answered. In other words, you don't have to do these things.

But there are certain things that have to happen. You have to introduce what it's about. You have to hear testimony and evidence, and then you have to reflect on it. And there has to be a conclusion and it has to- that's basically all that happens. What happens in between that, whatever rules you have will be broken at some point.

So it's really just that procedure. Now, we've already heard a lot of themes. It's hard to even keep track of them already, which was the criticism of Mozart's music at the time. Too many notes, too many ideas, too many themes. Now, we get finally to something that he begins, eventually, to concentrate on. Let's start right where we stopped and go up to the end of the exposition.

I want you to listen carefully because I’m going to really take this apart. So just try to follow it. It's not- it's simple, beautiful, gorgeous music in a way, but it's actually very rich in ideas and structurally rather complicated. So following it is not so easy. (music) Now that was beautiful, by the way. That was just the exposition.

And then he's going to explore that in the development or explore whatever he wants and then come back and somehow reorganize the music so that there's something fresh and different. And in his case, he addresses all the complexities and simplifies them, which is what I will get to. Now, you might have noticed there were lots of detours, and if you didn't, here's an example of one.

Can you just play, everybody, from, let's say 68 to the downbeat of 79? What you're going to hear is what could be a cadence, could be a simple ending. The piano will then take off on a little tangent and the string players leave her alone. They know better. She'll get back eventually and she starts to get chromatic and almost sounds like she wants to do something romantic and looking into the future.

And they pull her back. Or she pulls herself back. 67? Okay. (music) Okay, that whole piano thing. In fact, it comes back later and it's different. Let's take a look at when it comes back later, because it's interesting. Bar 219. Let's go back a little bit and do the same equivalent thing. So like 213. 213? This is in the return, in the recapitulation, the same music slightly rewritten and the piano version is even a little bit stranger. (music)

Okay, okay. Those are the precious moments because the things that you would take out, I hope no one here is an editor, but if the things that you would take out if you were an editor are always the most extraordinary things. They are the detours, they are the delays. And often the delays come right before a cadence, right before an ending of a phrase or ending of a large section.

That's when suddenly there's a flight of fancy. And Haydn did this as well. And Mozart learned some of it perhaps from Haydn and C.P.E. Bach. But with Mozart, it's of course, very special as it was with Haydn and C.P.E. Bach, but a different kind, personal way of doing it. In fact, if you think of a concerto, the cadenza in a concerto is the same idea, but it's without the structure.

Right before you get to the end, right before you pull into the garage, which doesn't really work in New York because nobody drives, but for you at home, right before you pull into the garage. Right before it ends, there's a cadenza and the cadenza is a delay. It's not just a display for the soloist, it's a delay of an ending.

And in a way you could think of musical form as delaying endings in interesting ways. Deceptions, detours, interruptions, ways of delaying endings, which is what we do all our lives. We delay endings. We do it- you can think of a thousand different things, and that is one of the things that they have in common, is we tend to delay endings except for a few things, like when the last period in school and maybe the dentist. A few things. But we often, we don't want it to end and in life in general, we don't want it to end.

So there are always new adventures and in a small scale, this continually expanding by a detour, going another direction, changing key, doing this little chromatic thing. This is a way of not having that cadence. Now, one of the most remarkable passages in this entire piece, from the point of view of interruptions and delays and detours is this long piano solo you heard a moment ago.

I'm going to ask Anna to play it again, and then I'm going to really take it apart for you. We will start at, I guess we can do it with the strings. Let's start at 44. I want you to really think about the piano part and really pay attention to it, and then I will take it apart for you. (music)

Okay, now everybody leaves. Alright. I'm going to start by removing things as if I were an editor trying to get this into its simplest, clearest, cleanest form, only what is necessary. Then I will start adding things back in. All right. So I think you will- I'm hoping you will not be able to follow thisn well because it isn't easy.

And the idea is just try to imagine each time I play one. How close is that to being the entire section that you just heard? (music) Is that enough? Well, that's everything you need, okay? Mozart wasn’t about everything you need, but that's all you need to set that up. I'm going to put something back, see if you can figure out what is. (music)

Did you notice that happened twice this time? The first time it only happened once. Does that ever happen? The first time, it only happened once. I said that twice. Does anyone ever say anything twice to you? I hope so. I mean, it's so normal human thing. I used to have a doorman who said everything twice. “Hey, Bruce. How you doing?”

Hey, Bruce. How you doing?” Every day it was twice. “Going to work? Going to work?” Okay. But Mozart must have talked like that. Or at least he knew somebody. Okay, now I'm going to put, I hope you remember that, because I'm going to put one little thing back in. (music) What was that? That wasn't there before. Right? Listen to that again. (music)

When you hear it taken away and put back, you realize you didn't need that. It reminds me of my Aunt Nancy, but I won't get into that tonight. So, you know, who always (music) when she could have said this. (music) Always said things like... (music) Okay, now I'll put something, I'm putting something else back in here. (music) Did you notice what was put back? It was quite long.

This whole thing. (music) That wasn't there before. Neither was this. (music) Is there more? Oh yeah. There's more. Okay, I'm going to play that same thing. I'm only going to put back one measure now from what you just heard. It is getting hard to concentrate on, isn't it? (music) What was that? If that's not, you know, I mean, the thing is, this can be funny, you see.

I mean, I don't know- I'm not saying it should be played as if it's funny, but if you listen to it structurally, it's hysterical because he keeps taking things- you know, in order to play it for the humor, you would probably have to distort it, which is unfortunate. But you have (music) See, that fits perfectly there.

But that's not what he has. He has (music). Okay. Is it done yet? No. There's one more thing. I mean, I could make it more, but there's one- the one I've saved for last is the one that to me is the most obvious sense of needless repetition. Now, it might actually seem funny, even though it's hard for it to seem funny in the context of the piece.

So this is all of it. (music) That's right while she's playing this. Now, did you get what that was? Because now we're back to where we were. It's this thing that goes... (music) What is that? I mean, (music) would be fine, right? But (music) to me, it's obvious comedy and it has a flirtatious quality too. It also is the kind of thing where Mozart is delaying it and hoping that you'll notice how delayed it is.

Now, how many things that I take out? I'd have to look at it again. I took out, originally, many ideas, then I put back one repeated measure, then I put back an interruption. This repeated measure, (music) then the interruption, (music) and then this long. (music) Put that back and then this back. (music) And then eventually this. (music) That's a lot of things. Now I realize, I mean, I think I made that clear, but I think that sometimes if you're not a professional musician, it's easier to understand this concept if it's in words.

So I wrote out something in words that I think accomplishes what I just did. I had to think of something that is an everyday experience because I really believe completely and profoundly honestly, I believe that Mozart's humor and his syntax and the grammar that you're listening to is based on conversation and everyday life. That's why he could do it so easily.

It just goes- he hears how people interact and how people talk and it becomes part of his syntax. So here, let's say you're at a Middle Eastern takeout place. First sentence. I'd like the falafel platter, please. Slightly elongated. I'd like the falafel platter. That's the platter. Not the pita, please. Adding in a little more. I'd like the falafel platter that comes with tahini.

And that's the platter, not the pita, please. I'd like to falafel platter that comes with the tahini. And that's the platter not the pita. And it's for here, please. I'd like the falafel platter that comes with the tahini. And that's the platter, not the pita. And it's right here. So on a real plate and not in a carton, please.

I'd like the falafel platter that comes with tahini, but could you bring the tahini on the side? And that's the platter. Not the pita. And it’s for here. So on a real plate. Not in a carton, please. And finally, the entire thing. I'd like the falafel platter that comes with tahini, but could you bring the tahini on the side?

And that's the platter, not the pita. But I'd like some pita on the side, and it's for here. So, on a real plate, not in a carton. Please. And I need a check as soon as possible. I'm in a rush. Okay, now... Okay. So, I hope you can see that that's the same thing. And the difference is, though, that Mozart didn't give you each little thing, because even though that's funny with words, that's not musically viable.

So you get the entire last sentence. So by deconstructing, you can see where it goes. To me, when I hear the music, I hear that like someone talking that way. Now, that doesn’t mean when you hear it played, you should be rolling in the aisles laughing because it's not a comedy that way, but it's a comedy with a capital C. So, it doesn't mean that it's funny, ha-ha.

But it has a brightness and a sense of beauty that relates to the metaphor of everyday life through this kind of comedy. So, it's also operatic because it's a real character. These are characters. Now, what do you think?After the piano does that, when it comes back at the end, do you think the string players are going to allow the pianist to do that again?

I would hope not. Let's go to the section where that happens and see what happens. Yeah. Measure 195. Okay. This is the same thing. 195. It's the same music. It's not- even divided among the instruments the same way. See what you think of this. It's also struck- sorry. Structurally, in the same place, It's the exact parallel spot.

(music) Okay, so a lot of things happened there. First of all, it's much shorter, isn't it? Much, Much shorter. Secondly, they take her theme away, they control it, and then they go into this minor for a moment, which is as if to say, “We're not going to do that.” I made a gesture at that spot. Can you play it again?

And that's- there's a spot where you hear... (music) It's almost as if it's saying, “We are not going to be foolish like you were.” Let’s try again. (music)

Okay, great. Right. That's the great viola solo, one of those. That was the whole thing. Okay. And now there are a couple of other things. But before we get to the real piece again, would you like to look at that? One of the important aspects of instrumental music and how it unfolds, especially in classical, in the classical period, and a little in the romantic too, is that you don't get full bodied themes, you get them more in the romantic period.

You often get almost that themes never really are complete because if they were complete, they wouldn't need to be explored. They're motivic. They're fragmented. And they unroll. They unfurl and get unwrapped as the piece happens and you feel like you've heard the whole theme. But if you go looking for the whole theme in one spot, you might not ever find it.

So in order to make that point, I wrote out what would be a complete theme based on the motif you've been hearing. So here's a piano solo which is the first one, two, three, four, five, six bars are by Mozart, and after that it's a response that would round it off if it were a melody, perhaps later on in the 19th century. (music)

Oops. That's if it were in the 21st century. Okay. (music) Okay. That ends. And when it- because it ends, it takes this beautiful idea and actually begins- by the time it's over, it's trivialized a little bit. It's trivialized because it's more symmetrical, it's more balanced, and it comes to a conclusion very soon. So, it loses the dramatic quality that makes it great.

The dramatic quality comes from, you're constantly waiting to see what's going to happen to this thing. And there are detours, as I've mentioned, and interruptions and delays in cadence making. And eventually when it does finally resolve, it is minutes and minutes and minutes later. So here, by compressing the idea of the opening and a response, it becomes more like a song.

And because of that very short length, it becomes more like a parlor piano piece, which might have been learned by a Jane Austen character as opposed to a real person. Okay. Now, a few other great moments. The theme itself (signing) also is introduced twice. You remember how I said there's an introduction to the introduction at the beginning?

Okay. The theme is stated in the piano and picked up in the violin. I wonder if we would cut those two bars, please, and let's just see what happens. Let's start at... we could start at 24 and skip 28 and 29. Okay? You won't miss it, you know. Okay. Go ahead. Okay. (music) Did you miss it? No. Okay, let's put it back. (music)

Okay. So, from the point of view of structure, what does it accomplish? Nothing. From the point of view of music and drama, it accomplishes a lot because it's a soloist’s idea. It becomes a character. It becomes a story. The pianist has a thought, and then the violinist says, “I'm going to think about that too.” Or, “Yes, I would be happy to, whatever you just said,” you know. But if you take it out, you have a clean, again, a clean structure, you have balance, you have symmetry in a different way than you would have had.

And putting it back is drama. And again, the underlying theme of this is what makes this music so alive and so vibrant and enduring actually isn't its simplicity or its charm or its symmetry. It's the opposite of that. It's its strange complexity. Its asymmetry in weird places. It's reordering of what's expected. So with very beautiful material, there is a rather bizarre structure, which is actually kind of hard to follow.

And in order to make it fit into normal music- I don’t mean normal music. To fit into a normal conventional structure, you would end up writing music that doesn't sound anything like Mozart. Now, what did people think at the time? Believe it or not, here's a comment. 1788 I love the name of this journal. You would think it was a new journal, the 1788 Journal of Luxury and Fashion. It’s the kind of thing that comes to your house and you didn't even order it.

And it weighs a ton. And you look for all these famous people, you know, and say, “What is this?” Okay. Journal of Luxury and Fashion. There was a review of his piece in there. And it's fairly, it says, “Some time ago,” this is all quoted. Translated, of course, but all quoted. “Some time ago there was published a quartet which is very artfully composed.

Its performance requires the greatest precision on the part of all four players. But even in perfect rendition, the music can be enjoyed only by musical experts. The rumor that Mozart has composed a new quartet that this and that princess owns it and he plays it, spread quickly and caused this particular composition to be senselessly performed in great and noisy concerts.

Everyone was bored and yawning at the incomprehensible hodgepodge of instruments which did not harmonize in a single bar.” Isn't that- that's really one of the most... Luxury and Fashion. Okay, so when Mozart's publisher, Hoffmeister, didn't want to publish, he didn't even want him to write another piano quartet, he was not reacting to this one. He was reacting to the G minor, which the first movement is dramatic and operatic.

It's a little Don Giovanni-esque, actually, but the other movements are not. And the last movement is a beautiful, charming, accessible, memorable, hummable Rondo. But obviously the first movement wiped them out completely. So when Mozart wrote this for no money, I think he was really doing his best possible job at disguising complexity with beauty, with beautiful melodies, because as you can see from what I've taken apart, this structurally is really quite bizarre, unpredictable, and full of innovative ideas and also ideas that you really can't imitate.

You can't just write another piece that does this, but because all the tunes are lovely, it's subversive. One of the most important concepts in classical music of that time, and by classical music of that time, I mean the classical period, the 18th century, is that it's subversive. For the composers, especially. Meaning that sonata form and the concerto form, any of the forms they wrote in in those days, which they say are more procedures, are about subverting expectations constantly.

So in order to do that, you have to set up with something that feels normal and feels predictable and has hummable or lovely fragmented melody. So you think you know what's going to happen and you never know what's going to happen. And it's with Haydn and then with Mozart and with Beethoven, they do it in what I like to call structural dissonance.

It's not dissonant notes, but the structure is bizarre, as if you're walking on uneven floors, you know, and each thing feels even until you get to the next one and you don't know. It's like Escher a little bit. I think there's a nice parallel, actually, which I hadn't thought of before, but since Mark nodded. I like it, right?

It was good. Right? Escher. Escher was good. Okay. Alright. Now, let's take a look at that Mozart piano trio that we briefly talked about for a moment. I'm going to ask him to play. We're going to come back to the quartet. This is just for a comparison. Now that we talk so much about structure, listen to the opening as written by Mozart up until it gets to the second section.

So it goes up to that D major cadence. (music) Now, what you have here is much more predictable than what you have in the E-flat Quartet because it starts with the fanfare idea, the (singing) but then the 16th notes, if you just play a little bit of the 16th, yeah. (music) Yeah. That, the baseline, especially the active bass, comes after the music has established itself.

So, it makes sense. You walk in and you hear a fanfare. There's a simple statement and then everybody reacts like, you know, with 16th notes. That's how life is. Somebody makes an announcement. People react and then they go running around like a bunch of 16th notes to take care of the damage. The E-flat Piano Quartet, as I said, doesn't start with the fanfare.

You can almost see the opening as what should come as a reaction. Let's play the opening as written by Mozart and think about this, that that opening could have been a reaction to the fanfare. It's backwards. (music) Yeah. Now, I actually think that connecting the opening four bars to the next four bars is one of the hardest things to do convincingly in Mozart, except that everybody's okay with it anyway.

But it almost seems, it's a big challenge and I'll make it very hard for you to play if I keep talking about it. It was fine the way it was, but... Now, there are a few other themes, like five or six more themes in this piece. Have you been trying to count these? If these were evidence, the evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of E-flat major.

The B-flat Major seems to have only have one idea, but that idea is all that's explored. The idea (singing) that idea is what Mozart explores in depth in the development. So let's say this is a courtroom trial and the, one of the lawyers, let's not worry about defense and prosecution, but one of the lawyers puts forth all these themes in E-flat. One after another.

And then the other lawyer says, “Well, I only have one theme, but it's this. (singing)” It changes everything. And that theme gets examined and examined in all of these keys. And it's not fair because the other evidence is not examined in all those keys. It's basically left alone and comes back a little bit at the end.

Back in the original key of the tonic. It's almost like the monkey trial. You can't let any of these other people testify. They're all dismissed. And we're only interested in... what was- creationism. You're only interested in that one- I mean, this is a very far fetched metaphor. Mozart could not have known about this. But it is the idea of unfairness, though, and you know, the idea that one little gesture overrides everything else is very powerful.

So that little gesture, let's get to the development section. At the development section you hear that this one theme is the one that is explored over and over and over in different ways. And the way that it is explored is by taking it to different keys, different territories. And that's really what that means. When you put something in B-flat and then you put it in E-flat and then you put it in a minor key and then you put it in, it's relative and you keep moving through all these keys.

It is very dramatic because what you're doing is relocating it completely. You're uprooting it. You're putting all these different points of view on it, which happens in the development. So let's follow what happens to this little idea. (music) Minor now. New key. New key. Now a whole series of keys. Just getting started with this. Go ahead. Now, the overlap. Now we're coming out of it and we're getting to the recapitulation where everything returns.

Okay, now you notice the opening comes back, that extra introduction. That is the only time you hear it like that again. You only hear it right at the beginning and right at the recap. It is not explored. You hear a reference to it at the end of each big section. So it comes back as a little coda. For example, let's play right before the end of the exposition, starting with that, another extra theme, bar 79.

Now, by the way, you're about to hear yet one more theme, which I haven't talked about, but you've heard it and there are so many themes. Here we go. Closing theme number two, going into coda number one. (music) Here it comes as a coda. Alright, so that's a use of it as a coda. That (singing)

So, he uses it to start the exposition at the beginning of the recapitulation, the two big sections, the two big pillars, and as codas at the end of the section. Now, you know, excuse me one second. If- pardon me. This motif (music) is ripe for a development because it's short and it's like a tag. Typical improvization at the time, and even now, is that you take a little recognizable idea and you just use it as you explore harmony.

So, for example, let's see. (music) See, now that- thank you. That's not that hard to do. You could try it. You’ll see what I mean. But basically because you have (singing), that's what you're listening to. But it's not what I was thinking about. I'm thinking about chord progressions and how to go from one to- what's interesting.

How can I do something interesting? And this is the heart of the technique of any style of development and of variation, which is to take something you can hold on to and identify with, and then you go traveling with it. So it's also true in talking, you know, in conversation. People try to hold on to something and they go all over the place.

But if they keep coming back to it- now, before I said, you don't come back to it. What I really was saying is that you don't stick to it, but you keep coming back to it makes it sound like you know what you're talking about, if you refer back to something. So you take this idea and you go all over the place, but you refer to it every so often.

So it sounds like, in fact you're repeating yourself as I am. Okay. I try, in talking, to demonstrate the techniques of interruption, delay, detours. I studied for years with a composer named Milton Babbitt, who was a great speaker in terms of detours and delays. He was famous for saying, having footnotes when he talked. And for example, he would say, “Good evening. Concentrate.

And by evening, I don't mean that it's actually evening as opposed to night. There's no window. I mean the window. This was designed by the architect so and so, and it maybe designed is too strong a word.” Anyway, so, and 25 minutes later, he’d say something about what he was there to talk about. And his music was like that, too.

Okay. In a good way. But Mozart's music is like that. It captures that sense of exploration, of fun. I think I've mentioned once or twice that Harold Pinter sometimes reminds me of Mozart, but he certainly reminds me of composers because the plays of Harold Pinter are music, because the language and what is said in the details, they matter, but not as much as the structure, the interruptions, the silences, where the points are made, the climaxes.

They're extraordinary. And if, in a way, listening to a play like that, which you can on YouTube, or you can go live with or something, is, if you think of it as music, you get it even more. And if you think of this music as theater, you get it even more because it is full of those interruptions. It's full of what the mind does. Whatever that may be.

But okay, now how are we doing? We are getting close to having to play the whole movement through. I want to make sure I didn't leave out anything of importance. I must have. Well, I think we're in good shape to hear the whole thing through. Do any of the musicians have a comment or a rebuttal or an idea that's completely unrelated, they'd like to share? Because that would be certainly relevant.

We just play. We don't think.
Bruce Adolphe We know about that. Okay. Alright, so let us hear from beginning to end without the repeat, in the interest of time, this entire movement. And how do you listen to this now? I'’m not going to tell you how to listen to it, but it's a very interesting question. How do people listen and does information help you listen or not?

Thinking about it while you're listening doesn't mean you're paying better attention. Just in case you're wondering about that. If you're thinking about it and you're saying, “Oh, now there's this and now there's that.” That's not necessarily helpful. If that occurs to you, fine. But if you're making it happen, no. So, I would suggest is that you absolutely just listen.

Don't spend your time getting distracted by whether you think the musicians are dressed properly or how they look or if that was the fingering that you had seen done by some other musician, if you're that type of person who's watching the fingerings. Try not to be distracted by visuals, but see or imagine when it's over, did this lecture and the issues raised impact how you hear the piece or not?

If it did, tell me. If it did not, I don’t want to hear about it. Okay, let's hear it straight through (music) We hope you enjoyed the podcast. Visit ChamberMusicSociety.org to watch videos of these lectures, as well as masterclasses and concert performances. And while you're there, check out the calendar of upcoming Chamber Music Society events in New York and around the world. See you in two weeks.