Leopold Mozart, the father of the great Wolfgang Amadeus, was himself quite an important composer and his musical output was considerable. Today it is his programmatic orchestral works that are most often played – especially the Toy Symphony and The Musical Sleigh Ride (Die Schlittenfahrt).
Alongside the more usual orchestral forces, Leopold was fond of using strange instrumental effects and real noises (including ringing of bells, dogs barking etc.) to enhance the musical illustration of the underlying story. The Musical Sleigh Ride is no exception. In it, Leopold’s music depicts a young lady on a night-time ride through winter snow-covered landscapes on her way to a ball. True to form, The Musical Sleigh Ride (which is played twice during the ‘journey’) incorporates both sleigh bells and a whip, amongst an array of percussion instruments to add that Christmas sparkle!
Here, Leopold’s music has been arranged for wind quintet, in which the horn player will need to wear ankle bells (as the horn player also does in Delius’s Sleigh Ride. The ‘whip’ is replaced by unison stamping!!