This sequence is based on the opening theme to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, written by the one and only Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
With over 600 pieces written over a 30ish year composing career, it is safe to say Mozart was a prolific composer. It doesn’t hurt that his father Leopold was a fantastic composer himself, as well as a great teacher. Fun fact, Leopold Mozart’s Alto trombone concerto is one arguably the most beautiful song ever written for the trombone. Mulcahy plays Mozart Part 1 Part 2.
Young Mozart grew up immersed in a world of music. His older sister Maria Anna (“Nannerl”) started playing a few years before him, and by age 5 he was playing violin, piano, and composing.
His father took the kids on tour through Europe, proclaiming young Wolfgang was miracle from God. The tours brought commissions, and a wide exposure to different music. Mozart quickly acquired considerable fluency in the musical language of his time, and enjoyed imitating the musical equivalent of local dialects.
As he aged, life’s experience added some maturity and depth to his music. He held court positions that allowed him to write and perform until the end of his 35-year life. Now his music resonates through time as the defining sound of the classical period (along with Josef Haydn).
This little serenade was written in 1787, around the time Mozart was working on his opera Don Giovanni. He notated the completion of the piece in his journals, but it was not published, leading many to wonder if the piece was some sort of secret commission or simply a passion project.
Thankfully, years after Mozart died, his widow Costanze sold a bundle of his compositions to the publisher Johann André. Nachtmusic was part of the bundle, and finally published in 1827.
The work is written for an ensemble of 2 violins, viola, cello and double bass, but is often performed by string orchestras. It is arguably the most popular of Mozart’s compositions and is the piece I think of first when I hear the words classical music.
Play this theme with a rich sound, bright articulations, and a cheerful tempo. This melody is built on arpeggios, so be sure to activate the 3rds and the 5ths so the chords ring in tune.
Listen to the original to dial in the style, and happy practicing!
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