Sunday morning music


The divertimento is traditionally understood as “a musical genre, with most of its examples from the 18th century. The mood of the divertimento is most often lighthearted (as a result of being played at social functions) and it is generally composed for a small ensemble.  Divertimento is used to describe a wide variety of secular instrumental works for soloist or chamber ensemble. It is a kind of music entertainment although it could also be applied to serious genres. After 1780, the term generally designated works that were informal or light.”

Mozart excelled at divertimenti.  Here are three from his prodigious output.  First, the Divertimento in F major, K. 138, performed by the New York Classical Players conducted by Dongmin Kim.

Next, from the same performers, here’s Mozart’s Divertimento in D major, K. 136.

Finally, here’s his Divertimento No. 15 in B-flat major, K. 287, performed in Japan in 1984 by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Herbert von Karajan.

Mozart wrote 27 divertimenti, and many other composers contributed their own pieces to this classical genre.  You’ll find most of them on YouTube.  Consider them the “pop music” of the classical era.



  1. And dont forget PDQ Bach, the humorist who was not a bad composer, almost despite himself. Consider his Pervertimento in C Major, or Iphigenia in Brooklyn.

  2. Where are the Mozarts of today? He was an amazing talent. The Köchel numbers go over 600. Mozart died at age 35 Рimagine the music left unwritten.

  3. Speaking of Peter Schickele, he had a lot of fun with musical parody, while being a very talented musician and composer himself. I saw him perform in the late 60s or early 70s and it was great fun. His persona as PDQ Bach was inspired. I always remember the vocal group he created – the "OK Chorale".

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