Five Contradances, K. 609
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart loved dancing himself, and he composed dance music throughout his life. In December 1787 he was appointed Imperial Chamber Composer and as such he wrote dance music for balls at the Redoutensaal, the famous ballroom in Vienna patronized by the Emperor as well as by people of every class. The lightly scored Contradances of K. 609 were probably created for the 1791 carnival season, although in at least two cases they were based on earlier music. The first dance is an arrangement of the aria "Non più andrai" from The Marriage of Figaro, which had premiered in Vienna five years before, and the fifth dance is a new version of the contradance "Les filles malicieuses," K. 610 (probably composed about around 1783; Mozart also paired it with the German Dance, K. 611). The contradance was a quick dance in duple meter, but the fourth of this set, in 3/8 meter, sounds much like a bumptious proto-waltz.
- John Henken is Director of Publications for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.