Mozart’s Viola

Mozart’s viola

Mozart & Michael Haydn: Duo Sonatas

Mozart loved the viola; he owned a viola and frequently took the viola part when played in chamber music groups. We’re lucky to still have his compositions which include music for that wonderful instrument.

This CD features music for violin and viola:

Haydn, M:

  • Duo in D major, MH 336 (P. 128
  • Duo in C major, MH 335 (P. 127)


  • Duo for violin & viola in G major, K423
  • Duo for violin and viola in B flat major, K424
  • Menuetto (from 12 Duos for Horn, KV487)

Performed by Rachel Podger (violin) & Jane Rogers (viola)

The Duets for Violin and Viola by Mozart have long been favorite pieces of mine – pieces that Miozart would take out and play when there wasn’t a keyboard player or cellist to hand. Back then, the audience’s response clearly indicated how appealing these pieces were

These works never cease to amaze – Mozart uses the two instruments so effectively and with such exquisite craftsmanship that he never leaves one wondering where the rest of the string quartet might have gone….They are also hugely engaging to play and so endlessly rich and interesting that the appeal to the listener is guaranteed.

Mozart’s reference to other genres is always fascinating.  One could perhaps go as far to say that these duos are distillations of the art of chamber music as in the Haydn quartets. For a violist this music is about as exposed as you can be;  The conversational and imitative nature of the writing allows for freedom and strong expression.

The Michael Haydn duos are also a lot of fun. The character of these pieces is often reminiscent of Austrian folk music and it really seems as if you can hear the yodelling vernacular bouncing off the mountains in timely echoes.

Here are David and Igor Oistrakh: violin & viola duet KV423 by Mozart

Third movement: Rondó; David Oistrakh at the viola, Igor Oistrakh at the violin



And here is the Bach Partita No 3 BWV 1006 (I. Prelude) performed by Rachel Podger



Tags: Mozart, Michael Haydn, Violin/Viola Duets

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