I’ve been listening to some pretty long and heavy works, so let’s back off a little bit and listen to something lighter. This is the first of the so-called “Milanese Quartets”, which Mozart wrote while touring Italy. He was sixteen when he wrote this.
I’m returning to the Hagen Quartet for this.
String Quartet no. 2 in D Major K. 155
- First violin very dominant
- Lots of parallel harmonies with second violin, which sometimes does similar motions with the viola.
- First violin melody – when alone – is very vocal sounding to my ears.
- Viola also gets a few bars of solo time, but the first violin’s part makes me think almost of a violin concerto with a very small orchestra. The end is almost cadenza like. Almost.
- This is much more even between the instruments.
- Cello playing steady eighth note pulse.
- The parallel ascending lines for the violins with the trills on each beat is fun.
- Sooooo much eighth note pulsing at times from three out of four players.
3. Molto Allegro
- Short and sweet.
- Almost a musical joke. A very fun silly piece.
- Virtuosic writing for the first violin. Lots of very fast sections, some double stops. Other voices have much simpler accompaniment-like parts.
Like his first string quartet, this is the composition of a young composer. I feel that most when viewing the accompaniment by the lower three voices. The latter half of the second movement is particularly rough on this front. His lead writing is very nice though, and that last movement shows he could write exciting albeit brief music. There is some use of internal contrast. For example, there are lots of sudden dynamic shifts and alternating staccato and legato passages.
I will have to listen to the other “Milanese Quartets” and see how he matured during his time in Italy. Or I could just skip them and listen to later quartets. Hmm. Decisions. Decisions.
Until next time!