Serenade for 13 instruments, 1st Movement


Mozart, W A


8 mins 50 secs


2 Flutes, 2 oboes, 3 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 2 alto saxophones, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, double bass (or contrabassoon)





Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1757 – 1792), was a child genius and prodigy. He was composing from very early childhood and could play the piano brilliantly equally early. One of his earliest compositions was Ah! Vous dirai-je, maman (Mother, if I could tell you) which has been corrupted into Twinkle Twinkle Little star. Whilst the theme of this is straight forward, the variations Mozart wrote certainly were not. Mozart produced a staggering amount of music in his short life which was blighted by mental illness and alcoholism. His catalogue includes 41 symphonies, 27 piano concerti, 22 operas, 5 violin concerti, 4 horn concerti and 7 other wind concerti, 36 violin sonatas and a large amount of chamber plus other music (marches, minuets, religious music, divertimenti) as well as the incredible Requiem.

The Serenade no. 10 for 13 instruments, composed in 1781/2, was originally scored for 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B flat, 2 basset horns in F, 2 horns in F and 2 more in B flat, 2 bassoons and a double bass. Mozart’s instruction was that the double bass part could also be played on a contrabassoon. The inclusion of the seldom used basset horns is unusual. These were an early attempt at an instrument pitched between the clarinet and bass clarinet and should not be confused with the basset clarinet which is pitched in A. In modern bands, the E flat alto clarinet is now used instead. In all, there are seven movements and movement 1 is presented here. This arrangement has the wind section of a modern concert band in mind but with different instrumentation to include flutes and the complete saxophone section. As a result, whilst there are 16 instrumentmental parts involved, as with the original Mozart composition, the string bass and contrabassoon are identical and either instrument can be used. Noting that there is often more than one instrument to a part in modern bands, there is indication of every player in the section playing or just a single instrument. There is also lot of commonality between the flutes, oboes and clarinets yet, with the repeat removed and parts interchanged, there are many places where just flutes, just oboes or just clarinets or even a combination of two sections, are playing.

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