## 1-4 "String Quintet No. 2 in G major, Op. 111" (Johannes Brahms)
The piano was the instrument with which Brahms felt most comfortable, and he hesitated to publish chamber music for strings, with or without piano, for many years. He generally asked violinist Joseph Joachim (1831-1907) for assessments of his works for strings before they were printed. The failure of a string quintet version of the Piano Quintet, Op. 34, rekindled his anxieties and he avoided writing for such forces until 1882, when he finished the Quintet, Op. 88. His second quintet, the Quintet for two violins, two violas and cello in G major, Op. 111, composed in the summer of 1890, was first performed in Vienna on November 11, 1890. Simrock in Berlin published the work in 1891.
Brahms intended the Quintet in G major, Op. 111, to be his last work. In December 1890 Brahms sent Simrock an alteration to the finale of the quintet, including this instruction: "With this note you can take leave of my music, because it is high time to stop." The following spring he wrote out his will and decided to concentrate only on unpublished works he deemed worthwhile, dispensing with the others and with composing anew. Brahms, however, did not stick to his resolution. Nevertheless, permeated with an Austrian vivacity, the Op. 111 quintet gives no hint of being planned as a valedictory work.
The opening of the first movement, the cello tune included, derives from sketches Brahms had made in Italy for a fifth symphony. Laboring under a tremolo accompaniment from the other four instruments, the cello is entrusted with the arpeggiated, leaping main theme. As the sonata-form movement progresses, the theme dissolves into a transition to the dominant, D major, and the second group of themes, the first of which consists of a three-note figure that evokes the air of a Viennese waltz. The development section, beginning on B flat major, initially stresses the opening arpeggio of the main theme, but quickly moves on to develop segments of the second group and the transition. As is often the case with Brahms, the entrance of the recapitulation is disguised through new instrumentation, beginning with the third measure of the theme. Whereas the cello plumbed the warm depths of its register at the beginning of the movement, here the violin soars high above the tremolo accompaniment. All the material of the second group is resolved to the tonic before the movement closes with a developmental coda.
Brahms' favorite stringed instrument, the viola, introduces the theme of the ensuing Adagio, cast in variation form in D minor. The variation technique is used more freely than in Brahms' earlier such movements. Wistful and transparent, the Adagio is marked by unexpected shifts between major and minor and finally closes on D major. The composer's long-time friend Elisabeth von Herzogenberg found the Adagio and the Minuet much to her liking, recognizing in them "such perfect unity of emotion, vigor and effect." Fragments of first-movement themes appear in the opening melody of the minuet-like third movement, set in G minor, while the coda revisits the G major trio. The fourth movement is peppered with a Hungarian csardas flavor, especially its animated coda.
## 5-8 "Piano Trio in E flat major, Op. 70/2" (Ludwig Van Beethoven)
Composed in the same year, the Fifth and Sixth symphonies, the Trios, Op. 70, represent a return to the traditional intimacy of chamber music that Beethoven had put aside in favor of composition on a grand, symphonic scale. In contrast to works of the previous five years, the Trios, Op. 70, are more lyrical and seemingly freer harmonically. Beethoven dedicated the Trios, Op. 70, to Countess Marie Erdody, in whose home the composer had recently taken lodgings and who hosted their first performance in December 1808.
The trios are highly intricate and imbued with subtle implications that have large-scale realizations, sometimes in another movement. The motivic manipulation and harmonic exploration that are hallmarks of Beethoven's mature style are evident throughout these works. Of the Trio in E flat, Donald Francis Tovey noted that Beethoven had achieved an "integration of Mozart's and Haydn's resources, with results that transcend all possibility of resemblance to the style of their origins...." While Tovey's assessment is arguably a slight exaggeration, the first movement of the Trio in E flat gives an idea of what he meant. Beginning with a slow introduction, a practice generally associated with Haydn, the 4/4 time signature shifts to 6/8 for the sonata form proper. An abrupt modulation ushers in the second theme group, the first part of which is on the dominant minor. The development section passes quickly through numerous harmonies while developing fragments of the first theme, after which the recapitulation sneaks in almost imperceptibly and in the "wrong" key. Beethoven sets the second theme group in the tonic minor but reaffirms the tonic major through an extended closing group and, strikingly, the return of the slow introduction. Although the Trio in E flat is a four-movement work, there is no slow movement. An Allegretto set of variations, in C major, appears in its place. The movement features two themes, one in the tonic and the second in C minor, both of which are varied. An extended scherzo fills the third spot in the work. Beethoven's format departs from tradition in that some of the repeats are not literal. Furthermore, the movement is arranged so that the trio section appears twice. The overall lyricism of the movement sets it apart from most of Beethoven's previous scherzos. Virtuosic in conception, the finale resembles the first movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata in C major, "Waldstein," Op. 53, in that the second theme is in the major mediant (in the case of the Trio, G major) instead of the dominant. When the second theme group appears in the recapitulation it is set in C major, not the tonic. Beethoven thereby creates "tonal balance" by writing the second theme first a third above, then below, the tonic. Such harmonic relationships are abundant in Beethoven's late works.
## 13 "Serenade No. 7 for orchestra in D major ("Haffner"), K. 250 (K. 248b)" (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
Mozart composed this eight-movement work at Salzburg in July 1776, "for the wedding of Signor Spath and Signorina Elisabetta Haffner." It is scored for solo violin (in movements 2-4), pairs of flutes, oboes, bassoons, horns, and trumpets, plus string choir. This lengthy serenade is the first of two that Mozart composed for the Haffner family. Father Sigmund was both a rich merchant and burgomaster, whose ennoblement in 1782 occasioned the second one, since lost (four movements of which, however, survive as the Symphony in D [No. 35], K. 385, likewise called "Haffner" although neither label was the composer's). Counting the lost "Haffner," Mozart wrote 12 serenades in his lifetime, a title he used interchangeably with divertimento, cassation, and concertone - works in as many as eight movements, usually for special occasions of a social rather than formal character, usually performed in diverse venues over a period of several hours. Literally translated, serenade means "evening music," apt in the case of K. 250/248b which was performed by an ambulatory orchestra throughout the evening of July 21, 1776 (the wedding of Haffner's daughter, Maria Elisabeth, to Franz Xaver Spath followed on July 22). Mozart himself played the violin solos in movements 2, 3, and 4 - a concerto in all but title - and conducted the remainder.
Although less formal than symphonies or hold-over suites from the Baroque period, serenades were not, in Mozart's case, either casual or off-hand creations. Indeed, the consensus is that the "Haffner" Serenade was his breakaway work for orchestra. H.C. Robbins Landon has called it "Mozart's first great orchestral work - that is, the first in which technical ability and musical genius are perfectly wedded." For Jens Peter Larsen it "was the most stately orchestral piece that Mozart had so far composed...a work at whose artistic perfection one can only wonder." Georges Saint-Foix found in it "the full blossoming of his rarest gifts of music and poetry...the climax, not to say the apotheosis, of the period we have designated as galante."
Mozart experimented with key-combinations in his serenades. While K. 250/248b is nominally in D major, the second movement (Andante) is in F; so is the fourth movement (Rondeau), and the trio of movement 3 (Menuetto). The song parts of movement 3, however, are in G minor, the darkest key in Mozart's vocabulary; and the sixth movement (Andante 2) begins in A major! Robbins Landon again: "Those who know the later Mozart will find in K. 250 passage after passage in which the music of the Vienna period is presaged: the sudden veil drawn over the music by a harmonic change; the gliding poignancy of chromatic passing notes; the profoundly disturbing emotional quality that underlies so much of the apparently gay atmosphere - all of these are marks of Mozart's mature and supremely individualistic style."