The Nash Ensemble, Philip Dukes (viola)
The relatively novel instrumental combination which Mozart used for his string quintets (employing two violas) seems to have been inspired by a work by his friend and colleague Michael Haydn. Throughout his life Mozart loved the dusky sonority of the viola, always his instrument of choice when he played chamber music with friends. Beyond that, prompted by Michael Haydn’s charming, lightweight Notturno, he was evidently eager to explore a medium that enabled him to indulge his fondness for dark, saturated textures and rich inner-part writing.
The complete String Quintets is a enchanting body of chamber music, recorded here in a 3-disc set by the peerless Nash Ensemble.