Wind Music

Adagios for clarinets

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

K580a completed by Tony Turrill

(i)2 Bb Cls.: 3 Bhn    (ii) Bb Cl.: 3 Bhn    (iii) Bb Cl.: 3 Bhn    (iv) 2 Bb Cl.: Bsn  or Bass Cl.

alternatives are provided in which the basset horns are replaced by more common clarinets

Click on the quaver  to hear excerpt from all four adagios


for complete performances of individual works below

   Adagio K411 for two clarinets and three Basset Horns.

Mozart left a number of pieces for Clarinets and Bassets in various associations and various stages of completion.  This, the only one he completed, is a little gem (alternatives 3 Bb,  Eb Alto and Bass Cls.).

   Adagio K580a for clarinet and three basset horns.

Mozart left K 580a with a complete top part and a completed exposition but little else.  It has often been played in completions for Cor Anglais and Strings.  Whilst the manuscript has “corno ingles” written above the first stave, the words  are clearly later additions and not in Mozart’s own hand. It seems probable that the work was for the same combination as the fragment K440c and this completion makes that assumption.  This edition has been completed by Tony Turrill (alternatives 2Bb, Eb Alto and Bass Cls.)

    Adagio from the Mozart Oboe Quartet.

Whereas the K 580 manuscript leaves room for some argument about its scoring, K 370 was undoubtedly written for oboe and string trio.  However, its adagio has been appropriated in this transcription for clarinet and three basset horns;  a quid pro quo for the purloining of K580 by our double reed colleagues.  The movement sits well on the single reed combination.. The Bassets have been left in F, effectively transposing the work from concert F to concert Bb, as this key suits the range of the four instruments. (alternatives 2Bb, Eb Alto and Bass Cls.)

Canon Adagio K410 for 2 Basset Horns plus a Bassoon. 

As written, the blend of this work perhaps suffers a little from the divergent sound of the Bassoon and it is interesting to speculate why Mozart did not write it for three Basset Horns like the divertimenti or perhaps he did? Anyway it sounds better with the basset horn ensemble so alternative transpositions of the third part  to allow the combination of Three Basset Horns  or a Bass Clarinet in Bb are included should you wish to try it. (the excerpt playing uses the 3 Basset combination)   As, uncharacteristically, Mozart does not use any of the Basset notes of the Basset Horns, a further possibility  is to play the  Basset Horn parts on Two Bb Clarinets with a Basset Horn in F or Eb Alto  taking the third part - transpositions of the Bassoon parts are also included  for  allthese combinations.


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