In a letter to his father dated 3 December 1778, W. A. Mozart writes rapturously about the clarinet and its special sound. It is not his first encounter with this woodwind instrument, but perhaps that letter, which was the inspiration for the title of this book, is the beginning of a lifelong musical love affair between instrument and composer that is almost unique in music history. Hans-Peter Huber, himself a passionate clarinettist and music teacher, has spent several years researching this fascinating subject and describes with great attention to detail in chronological order the appearance of the clarinet in Mozart’s oeuvre, from the fifteen-year-old’s early wind works to the “opus magnum” of the clarinet world, the Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622, which stands at the creative end of the master’s career.

The author brings together a multitude of historical facts. The book Oh, if only we had clarinetti too! contains a detailed characterisation of all of Mozart’s completed and fragmentary compositions in which clarinets or basset horns are used. Detailed analyses including the sources, illustrated with numerous musical examples and tables, provide deep insight into the structure of the works, focusing on the question of the special role the composer assigned to the instrument. Concepts such as timbre, tuning and key characteristics are just as much in the foreground as aspects of instrument construction, fingering and playing technique, historical performance practice and information on the composer’s biographical environment. Last but not least, there is a short portrait of Anton Stadler, for whom Mozart wrote the most important of his clarinet works.

Hans-Peter Huber emphasises writing from the clarinettist’s point of view and focusing his attention on musical practice without leaving any musicological questions unanswered. The focus of his work is therefore on the problem of a possible reconstruction of the original text of the two main works, the Clarinet Quintet K. 581 and the Clarinet Concerto K. 622 for Stadler’s “basset clarinet”, the autographs of which have been lost to this day.

Ach, wenn wir nur auch Clarinetti hätten! (Oh, if only we had Clarinetti too!)

On the Clarinet in the Works of Wolfgang Amadé Mozart
Works, Facts, Sources, Opinions.
612 pages
Format 17 x 24 cm