Don Giovanni by Mozart, in the 1788 transcription by Johann Nepomuk Wendt

Gagliano String Quartet


from the 1788 transcription by Johann Nepomuk Went

This arrangement for the Don Giovanni quartet by W.A. Mozart, finds its realization in the brilliant intuition of a member of the Court Theater Orchestra, Johann Nepomuk Went (Vent, Wend, Wendt, 1745-1801), second oboe of the imperial team, who stood out between the 1780s and the 1790s, as one of the most skilled and prolific arrangers of his time. In fact, more than 40 works are owed to him, including arrangements and transcriptions. His version of Don Giovanni made in 1788, the year after the first version of Prague, is undoubtedly one of his most representative works, as evidenced by the great diffusion of these arrangements at that time. In 1803, a musician unknown to us took up Went’s transcription, originally conceived for flute, violin, viola and cello, transcribing the flute part for violin and adapting the whole work for an actual string quartet. The manuscript, kept at the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, denotes how the musician, who unfortunately did not sign the work, as a profound expert in string quartet, while adhering to the whole system of Went, optimized the parts, making the transcription exquisitely idiomatic.

From that moment on, the success and spread of Went’s arrangement was mostly in this second structure, especially as the string quartet was establishing itself at the beginning of the 19th century, as the form par excellence of Western highbrow music.

Unlike many other transcriptions, the work goes beyond the boundaries of the usual domestic / amateur destination. It requires a professional string quartet for its execution, due to the remarkable virtuosity required of the four instruments, to which the various characters of the opera are entrusted with significant tone democracy, emancipating in this way the 1st violin from the usual role at the time, of “leader of the main part”.

In this the modernity of Went’s work, which in the absence of singers and scenes, stripped the musical content of Mozart’s opera, among the highest-ranked of all time, transfiguring it (even before Schubert’s “La Morte e la Fanciulla”) into an authentic “Eros and Thanatos” of the arising romantic string quartet.


  • Ouverture


  • Introduction – “Notte e giorno faticar”
  • Aria – “Madamina! Il catalogo è questo”
  • Duet – “Là ci darem la mano”
  • Aria – “Finch’han dal vino”
  • Aria – “Batti, batti, o bel Masetto”
  • Finale Act I – “Trema, trema, o scellerato”


  • Trio – “Ah taci, ingiusto core”
  • Sextet – “Ah non lasciarmi sola sola in buio loco”
  • Aria – “Dalla sua pace la mia dipende”
  • Finale – “Ah signor per carità!”

The Gagliano String Quartet, which pays homage to the most famous family of Neapolitan luthiers with its own name, brings together consolidated chamber music experiences and previous professional experiences in the field of chamber music. In particular Franco Gulli and Norbert Brainin mentored the individual path of the violinist Carlo Dumont. The violinist Carlo Coppola studied with Massimo Quarta and Ilya Grubert. Paolo Di Lorenzo, violinist and violist, studied with Felice Cusano and, for philological practice, with Jaap Schoeder, while cellist Raffaele Sorrentino trained with Luca Signorini and, for philological practice, with Roberto Gini.

The first group began working  together in 1987 thanks to the encouragement of the Gabrieli String Quartet of London, taking the ” Instrumental Improvement and Musical Interpretation Courses” in Sermoneta and playing at the Pontino Festival. In 1995, after being listened to by the Alban Berg Quartet, the quartet was invited to sharpen their skills with them at the Musikhochschule in Lübeck (Germany), working with Günter Pichler, Thomas Kakuska and Valentin Erben. In 1997, thanks to the “Amadeus Scholarship Fund”, the quartet was awarded a scholarship that allowed them to study with the Amadeus Quartet at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Parallel to the didactic work, the quartet has carried out concerts, playing in the main European cities (London, Geneva, Lübeck, Amsterdam, Barcelona, ​​Rome, Paris, Lugano, Sofia, Brussels, Budapest), holding both recitals and monographic cycles ( Boccherini 2005, Mozart 2006, Haydn and Mendelssohn 2009, Schumann 2010), participating in international tours and festivals. Performer of the most significant quartet repertoire, the Quartetto Gagliano often plays with guest instrumentalists, with whom it collaborates in various ensembles from quintet to octet, including Bruno Giuranna, Antony Pay, Ursula Hollinger, Peter-Lukas Graf, Jean-Francois Tollier , Alessandro Carbonare, Bruno Mezzena. The quartet, whose repertoire ranges from JS Bach’s “The Art of Fugue” to the most recent avant-garde, with the aim of expanding the traditional repertoire, is constantly dedicated to research work for the rediscovery of chamber music by authors of the Neapolitan school (Giuseppe Martucci, Franco Alfano, Alessandro and Achille Longo, Mario Pilati, etc.), performing and recording often unpublished works.

Do you need any informations?

Contact us
Subscribe to our Newsletter