Mozart’s String trios


  • Divertimento in E flat major, K563
  • Prelude & Fugue for string trio, K404a No. 4 in D minor
  • Prelude & Fugue for string trio, K404a No. 5 in E Flat

Performed by the Hermitage String Trio: Boris Garlitsky (violin), Alexander Zemtsov (viola) and Leonid Gorokhov (cello)


This CD highlights some of Mozart’s lesser-known works, all for string trio: the Divertimento in E flat major, KV 563 and two of the Fugues with slow Preludes from the set of six, KV 404a (after Bach).

The Divertimento, KV 563 is not only Mozart’s only composition for string trio, it is also one of the first works ever written for the combination of violin, viola, and cello. It was composed in 1788, the same year as three of Mozart’s greatest and best-known works, the symphonies in E flat, G minor, and C (the ‘Jupiter’).

Mozart was at the absolute height of his powers as a composer, and at the premiere of the divertimento in Dresden in 1789, he himself played the viola part.

The title ‘Divertimento’ implies music that is not restricted to the so-called Sonata Form, but which exhibits a light-hearted appeal that was intended for the social and musical gatherings of the late eighteenth century.

In this work, however, Mozart asks each of the three instruments in turn to take on the role of the soloist, which develops this composition into something more expressive and focused.

Here is the “Camerata Pacifica” in the 4th movement of Mozart’s Divertimento in E Flat Major, K 563:

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