MOZART arr. DEREK SMITH: Trio in G after the String Quartet KV 80 (1770)
The long and noble history of the harp and its music notwithstanding, there is still a lack of classical ensemble pieces to share the honours with so many masterpieces of recent years. Following Debussy, an attractive configuration is the trio which conjoins the harp with flute and viola to yield gratifying sonorities.
In quartet form, KV80 barely scrapes into the volume of “little Mozarts” when there are so many of his great works in the genre from which to choose. As an amateur cellist I have never played it; neither does it figure in most professional programmes. This is because the young Mozart writes largely in one or two melodic parts plus accompaniment, whereas we have become spoiled by the great quartets in which the four parts are of equal thematic and contrapuntal interest. However, this apparent weakness of this Quartet has proved a source of strength for my Trio.
While a gentle introductory work in a chamber concert, popular with audiences, the piece as here arranged is easy enough for use in schools wherein violin may be substituted for the viola and piano (or, better, harpsichord) for the harp. It is suggested that any performance should respect Mozart’s repeats, lest ‘gossamer' should fade into ‘insubstantial’.
Derek Smith won composition prizes at University College School. He was an early member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYO) where he met tutor Malcolm Arnold with whom he subsequently studied composition. Norman Del Mar taught him conducting, other influences being Colin Davis and Lennox Berkeley with whom he occasionally played chamber music. Music, both as performer and arranger, was pursued in the background during a scientific career, emerging as a full-time activity following an early retirement.
Derek won the BBC/Henschel Quartet composition prize in 2008-9 with Carolingua later performed at Kings Place and recorded by NEOS. His music is widely featured in West Midlands and Border programmes, seven concerts containing his works being given during the year 2014. Five CDs have been recorded. ADLAIS is his publisher of sheet music for harp ensemble. Other close associations are with Ariel Music Publications, the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff, Espressivo Concert Promotions and the Coull String Quartet.
Derek’s copyright has been assigned to GEMMA CLASSICAL MUSIC TRUST, of which he was a founder Trustee, now retired. All income from music sales and related activities is remitted directly to the Trust www.gemmatrust.com.
Adlais Music Publishers are very grateful to Catherine Baker for her kind permission to use this image of her painting “Red Earth and Pink” on the front cover of this score.
“This painting was inspired by the memory of one time, when in a dead-end job, I saw from my window two cherry trees bending with the wind, discharging such a blizzard of pink blossom that it was soon almost gone. An ephemeral moment of beauty and energy.”