- The Last String Quartets
Mozart dedicated six of his late string quartets to composer Joseph Haydn. These were Mozart’a quartets numbers 14 through 19. These so-called “Haydn” Quartets were published in 1785 in Vienna. Musicologists consider these to be the pinnacle of Classical string quartet writing, containing some of Mozart’s most memorable melodic writing, and setting the compositional trend for the future.
On this CD, however, we hear the four final quartets that followed the “Haydn” quartets, and which give us some amazing music, as well.
- String Quartet No. 20 in D major, K499 ‘Hoffmeister’
- String Quartet No. 21 in D major, K575 ‘Prussian No. 1’
- String Quartet No. 22 in B flat major, K589 ‘Prussian No. 2’
- String Quartet No. 23 in F Major, K590 ‘Prussian No. 3’
Performed by the Juilliard String Quartet.
In these last four quartets, Mozart’s contemporaries were quick to recognize the special characteristics of these works. On 30 November 1791 – just six days before Mozart’s death – one commentator wrote of the String Quartet in D K499:
‘[This quartet is] written with that fire of the imagination and that correctness which have long since won for Herr Mozart a reputation as one of the best composers in Germany. [It is in] four movements, and even the minuet is composed with an ingenuity (being interwoven with cannonic imitations) that one frequently finds wanting in other such compositions, even by famous masters.’
Mozart’s very last string quartet, K590 in F, furnishes an amazing conclusion to the composer’s writing in this form, and even more than the others exhibits many features of Mozart’s late style.
The individual track titles are:
String Quartet No. 20 in D major, K. 499, “Hoffmeister”
1. I. Allegretto 00:09:39
2. II. Menuetto: Allegretto 00:03:20
3. III. Adagio 00:10:02
4. IV. Allegro 00:06:36
String Quartet No. 21 in D major, K. 575, “Prussian No. 1”
5. I. Allegretto 00:07:50
6. II. Andante 00:04:54
7. III. Menuetto: Allegretto 00:06:12
8. IV. Allegretto 00:06:00
String Quartet No. 22 in B flat major, K. 589, “Prussian No. 2”
1. I. Allegro 00:06:21
2. II. Larghetto 00:06:48
3. III. Menuetto: Moderato 00:06:27
4. IV. Allegro assai 00:03:38
String Quartet No. 23 in F major, K. 590, “Prussian No. 3”
5. I. Allegro moderato 00:08:49
6. II. Andante (Allegretto) 00:07:59
7. III. Minuetto: Allegretto 00:04:10
8. IV. Allegro 00:06:42
Here is Mozart’s String Quartet No. 21 in D major, K. 575 ‘Prussian No. 1’, as performed by the Gewandhaus Quartet:
And next, let’s listen to the Mozart String Quartet No. 23 in F major, K590 ‘Prussian No. 3’, the 4th movement, as played by the ELYX Quartet. An example of one terrific performance!
The quartet members are:
Ye Lin, 1st violin
Qiang Xiaoxiao, 2nd violin
Jiang Hansong, viola
Ekachai Maskulrat, cello
Tags: Mozart, String quartets, last four quartets, Juilliard Quartet