Wir küssen Ihnen tausendmal die Hände was commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra as one of four chamber pieces to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death of Mozart (the others being by Donald Crockett, Rand Steiger, and Libby Larsen). It has something of the character of a musical letter to Mozart, taking its title from the closing salutation that most often appears in his own letters to his father (“We kiss your hands a thousand times”). Mozart’s “Kegelstett” Trio, K.498, for clarinet, viola, and fortepiano, had been my original starting point in thinking about this piece, but as it began to take shape in its rather epistolary stream-of-consciousness fashion, I felt the need for more instruments. The ultimate result is essentially a trio for clarinet, horn, and fortepiano — arguably Mozart’s three favorite solo instruments — with the accompaniment of a muted string trio.
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