Mozart German Dance No. 3 in C major, Die Schlittenfahrt

>> Saturday, January 9, 2010


Most of Mozart's German Dances were written whilst he held the position of Kammermusicus (Imperial Chamber Composer) in Vienna. Mozart had been apointed to this position on the 1st December 1787 by Emperor Joseph II. The position was offered following the death of the former Kammermusicus, Christoph Willibald Gluck on 15 November 1787.  In the position Mozart earned 800 Florins a year.  One of the main obligations of his position was to write music for the court dances and balls that were held in the Redoutensaal (Public Ballrooms) of the Imperial Palace in Vienna.  Mozart was an enthusiastic dancer, and produced many dance works, including ten sets of German dances. The first set was written in February 1787, before Mozart's appointment to Kammermusicus. The other sets, excluding K. 611, were written between December 1787 and 1791,  during which Mozart also wrote well known pieces such as Symphonies 40 and 41, and his opera Così fan tutte. These were mostly written in sets of six, with one set of four and one of twelve. Mozart composed this set of three Teutsche (German Dances) in the early months of 1791. The three dances of K. 605 are usually listed with the six dances of K. 600 and the four of K. 602 as Dreizehn deutsche Tänze (Thirteen German Dances). The pieces first appear on 12 February 1791 on Mozart's List of all my Works,  and are the penultimate set of German Dances that Mozart would compose before his death on 5 December 1791. 

Dance 3 Schlittenfahrt:  This dance may have been written independently of the others, as it is very different in style. Schlittenfahrt means "Sleigh Ride"; the use of sleigh bells in the piece clearly emphasises this. Before the sleigh bells enter, there is a series of repeating phrases that pass between the trumpets, woodwind and violins. The topography of the dynamics of the tuned sleigh bells make the piece seem like a sleigh ride, as the dynamics rise and fall like a sleigh would over snow. This is followed by a beautiful but simple trumpet solo that gives a very peaceful and clear atmosphere to the piece, like a winter's day. The original repeating phrases then return, but end with a majestic fanfare from the trumpets that passes to the other instruments, then returns to the sleigh bells and trumpet solo again. The piece ends with a diminuendo of the trumpet solo.


Information Source: Wikipedia






1 comments:

Kathy Handyside January 9, 2010 at 9:45 PM  

This was the first Mozart piece I ever heard, and I've always loved it. I always dreamed of having a horse trained to drive and to take my friends for a sleigh ride, during which I'd play a recording of this!

I like how Mozart used tuned sleigh bells in this piece. What a touch of genius!

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