String Quartet No. 15 (Mozart)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's String Quartet No. 15 in D minor, K. 421/417b is the second of the Quartets dedicated to Haydn and the only one of the set in a minor key. Though undated in the autograph, it is believed to have been completed in 1783, while his wife Constanze Mozart was in labour with her first child Raimund.[a] Constanze stated that the rising string figures in the second movement corresponded to her cries from the other room.
Average performances of the whole string quartet vary in length from 23 to 33 minutes. It is in four movements:
- Allegro moderato
- Andante (F major)
- Menuetto and Trio (the latter in D major). Allegretto
- Allegretto ma non troppo
The first movement is characterized by a sharp contrast between the aperiodicity of the first subject group, characterized by Arnold Schoenberg as "prose-like," and the "wholly periodic" second subject group. In the Andante and the Minuet, "normal expectations of phraseology are confounded." The main part of the Minuet is in minuet sonata form, while "the contrasting major-mode Trio ... is ... almost embarrassingly lightweight on its own ... [but] makes a wonderful foil to the darker character of the Minuet." The last movement is a set of variations. The movement ends in a picardy third.
- Finscher 2007, p. X.
- Irving 1998, p. 13
- Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Mozart. Oxford: Oxford University Press (1977, 1985): "...we are probably right in assuming that it was the sudden forte of the two octave leaps and the following minor tenth (bars 31–32 of the andante), a brief uproar that quiets down, in a syncopated passage, to piano. These are figures that otherwise do not occur in Mozart."
- Irving 1998, p. 33
- Irving 1998, p. 35
- Rosen 1988, pp. 112–114
- Irving 1998, p. 36
- Irving, John (1998). Mozart: The 'Haydn' Quartets. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-58475-2.
- Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (2007). Ludwig Finscher (ed.). The Ten Celebrated String Quartets. Translated by Anderson, Kinloch. Kassel: Bärenreiter. ISMN 9790006201181.
- Wilks, Alexa Vivien (2015). The Biography of a String Quartet: Mozart's String Quartet in D minor, K. 421 (417b) (PDF) (D.M.A). University of Toronto. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
- Rosen, Charles (1988). Sonata Forms. New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 9780393302196.
- String Quartet No. 15: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
- String Quartet No. 15: Score and critical report (in German) in the Neue Mozart-Ausgabe
- Performance of String Quartet No. 15 by the Borromeo String Quartet from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in MP3 format
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