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About this Piece

Commissioned by the Schleswig-Holstein Festival and the “Antwerpen” Festival, Korrespondenz was completed in 1992 and given its premiere by the Arditti Quartet in Schleswig-Holstein in 1993. “This string quartet reproduces the dramatic relations between Leopold Mozart, living in Salzburg, and his son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in 1778 living in Paris, through excerpts from their correspondence,” Eötvös writes. “The instruments of the string quartet are sounded as if they were ‘conducting conversations’. The emotional tension of the writing and reading of the letters, the words, the thoughts, the ulterior motives, the lurking doubts are all dramatized.”

Eötvös sets this in connected three scenes, complete with stage directions about the attitude of the two characters. The first violin and viola represent Wolfgang Mozart and the second violin and cello give his father’s side of the “conversation.”