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Divertimento D major, K136

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Length: 13'

The social and entertainment music that Wolfgang Amadeus wrote for payment on various occasions have long been underestimated and dismissed as inferior compared with other works by the master. It was overlooked however that in those days it was standard practice; that precisely those composers who didn't have a regular income from a position at the court, for a count or bishop kept their heads above water by doing such commissioned works. 

Next to the„Kleine Nachtmusik“, the most famous and most often performed social music by Mozart, the Divertimento in D Major, K.136, numbers among those compositions for chamber orchestra that are held highest in public esteem today - and are therefore subject to a certain degree of wear.  Mozart wrote the work at the age of 16 between his second and third tours of Italy, so that the Italian influence, especially that of Giovanni Batista Sammartini, cannot be missed in the composition which otherwise conforms to the Salzburg style. 

The convivial social background can be heard in this music.  In its form, the Divertimento also follows the fast - slow - fast sequence of the Italian overture. This sequence gradually came to be the standard in other areas of orchestral music  (as in symphonies and concertos). 

The young Mozart achieved an astounding homogeneity and sensuous fullness of sound in these divertimenti. One cannot fail to hear the harmonic and thematic relation to the symphonies that were written at the same time.

The Divertimento in D Major, K.136, consists of three movements. An andante, which could almost be called romantic, is framed by two quick movements in which the joy of a sensuous sound and unbridled musicality dominate. The youthful virtuosity of the music, in connection with a marked melodic ingenuity in the themes contributed to the great popularity of the work and distinguishes it out of the almost inexhaustible repertoire of court entertainment music.