Ballet Music from Idomeneo K. 367
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
|1||Chaconne Pas seul||0:13:52||Add to Playlist||Play Now|
In the 17th and 18th centuries, dance was an integral part of any opera. (This continued to be the case in France through the 19th century — Wagner’s Venusberg music from Tannhäuser and Verdi’s ballets for Don Carlos and Les vêpres siciliennes, all written for the Paris Opéra, are some examples.) In most German court cities, where Italian opera predominated, a ballet came at the end of the evening, often with music and action wholly disconnected from the opera that preceded it. Not so in the case of Mozart’s Idomeneo ballet music. We do not know whether or not the ballet had anything to do with the plot of the opera, but it followed Act 1 directly.
These two selections from the ballet (there are five sections total) are performed without pause and comprise an instrumental work of approximately 15 minutes, Mozart’s longest outside of his concertos. The Chaconne, a lively Classical-era riff on the stately Baroque dance with its repeated bass pattern, unfolds over two fast sections — the second a turbulent, minor-mode variant of the first — framing a dignified Larghetto. The stately introduction to the Pas seul, which featured each dancer of the corps in succession, launches a varied set of dances, closing with a headlong coda.