Mozart: Oboe Quartet

“The first movement of Mozart’s Oboe Quartet in F Major, K. 370, performed by American Baroque (featuring baroque oboist Gonzalo X. Ruiz), with a scrolling bar-graph score.”

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I (heart) oboe

It is really a love-hate relationship as I love it played well and hate it played badly.

You see, I played oboe. Past tense.

I started in the 4th grade — the year when, in my public school system in Oak Lawn, Illinois, band became an options. Our elementary school band was a multi-school deal and we rehearsed before school. I can’t remember now if it was weekly or more often. I played in the band through my freshman year in high school. By that time it was apparent that I was not a virtuoso. (Okay, that realization did not take until 9th grade.) It was also apparent that in my high school concert band was to the marching band like cross country was to basketball — a way to stay in shape for the real deal. Finally, with a very limited number of class periods in a day and my far stronger love for art and journalism, something had to give. I quit band and pursued other interests.

Still, having played oboe at all gave me an appreciation for the instrument when it is played well. This may be why this particular work of Mozart is among my favorites.

Animated Music

Perhaps one reason I fell in love with Disney animation as something beyond the stories and characters themselves was Fantasia. The illustration of music in that work was something very new to me and it connected deeply in me so many things I love.

When I first discovered this (it looks simple) animation work by Stephen Anthony Malinowski on YouTube I was, once again, enamored. Here is a guy who studied music theory and composition at UC-Santa Barbara and who has worked as a software engineer. Malinowski invented the Music Animation Machine. To read more about this machine, you can check out an interview he did with Jennifer Kahn (who is now with Wired Magazine, but wasn’t yet when she did this interview).

From what I have read (not too much) and seek, Malinowski is brilliant and quirky and almost exactly what you’d expect for someone who has done what he’s done. He has a YouTube Channel where he posts animations with some regularity — if you follow the video above to YouTube, you can find more.

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about the Quartet

The Oboe Quartet in F major, K. 370, was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in early 1781. The quartet is scored for oboe, violin, viola and cello. In 1780, Mozart was invited to Munich to visit Elector Karl Theodor, who had commissioned the opera Idomeneo for a carnival celebration. While in Munich, Mozart renewed an acquaintance withFriedrich Ramm, a virtuoso oboist in the Munich orchestra. It was for Ramm that Mozart composed the quartet.

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