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The Austrian Emperor Joseph II had special passion for pieces that combine the systematics of fugue and slow introduction, more characteristic of a quartet. The court composers of Joseph II, Albrechtsberger and Salieri, knew about it and specialized themselves in it to meet the musical taste of the emperor. Therefore, for Mozart when he was writing Adagio and Fugue C Minor, the creative work of the Bachs’ dynasty was not the only source of inspiration, he was also eager to show to the Court his ability of dealing with a fugue. Adagio and Fugue is amazingly chromatic, like no other piece by Mozart.
While composing, Mozart certainly relied on the compilation work by Johann Sebastian Bach “The Art of Fugue” (in fact, the book was given its title later). Contrapunctus No.8 from the work gives a direct ‘pattern’ which Mozart’s piece then follows. Many musicians believe that The Art of Fugue is one of the greatest works of the world musical history.
Johann von Fries, the co-owner of the Fries & Co banking house had very strong ties with the Vienna emperor’s house having made him one of the wealthiest persons of that time. One of the initiators of minting and distribution of the famous Austrian currency, a silver thaler of Maria Teresa, von Fries was not only a prominent financier, but also an admirer of fine arts. And his fortune, as well as his love of music Johann von Fries senior willed to Moritz von Fries junior who stayed in history as one of the greatest patrons of arts. Moritz von Fries was a close friend of Beethoven, that explains the dedication to von Fries of the only quintet released by the composer, as well as of his famous Seventh Symphony. The Austrian monarchy, symbolized by the Hofburg palace, during their history were the witnesses of many outstanding musical accomplishments.
The violist Alexander Zemtsov, a highly demanded soloist, member to many chamber ensembles and former soloist of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, teaches viola today in the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, and also in the Private Music and Arts University in Vienna.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Adagio and Fugue C Minor, KV 546
Johann Sebastian Bach
From the Art of Fugue compilation work
Contrapunc tus No.2
Contrapunctus No. 9
Ludwig von Beethoven
The String Quintet in C Major, op.29
Adagio, Molto espressivo
Scherzo – Allegro