String Duo No. 1 in G Major for Violin and Viola, K. 423, II: Adagio

Earlier today, I thought I would like to post about a piece featuring the viola. It’s an instrument with a beautiful tone, slightly deeper than a violin and less so than a cello; it helps fill out the soundscape of a string orchestra.

Surfing around YouTube, I landed on a wonderful string duo featuring American violist Kim Kashkasian and Xiang Angelo Yu of the Shanghai Quartet. The piece has a light mood, characteristic of many of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s (1756-1791) works. Born in Salzburg in the Holy Roman Empire (a Middle Ages political entity covering parts of western, central and eastern Europe until it was dissolved in 1806), Mozart wrote the piece in the summer of 1783. It was the first of two duos he wrote to finish Austrian composer Johann Michael Hayden’s set of six duos for the Archbishop of Salzburg. Strangely, the work was attributed solely to Hayden.

The second movement (Adagio) has a summery feel, a welcome sound as the slow, grungy spring melt continues.

The piece is mellow and calming and has an optimistic, even celebratory tone. It’s the perfect music to enjoy after a strenuous ride on my indoor bike trainer and as I think of a friend in Colorado, USA who’s celebrating a birthday today, and while I enjoy the aroma of the lovely pot of stew my sweety is making for us today.

Now you know a little about why this is My Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here is the video of a performance by Kashkasian and Yu at the WGBH Boston Performance Studio, posted on the official Front Row Boston YouTube channel:

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