Today, I’m listening to Mozart’s String Quartet no. 1, which he apparently composed when he was fourteen. I find the fact of it amazing, but I don’t really know the piece, so let’s dive in.
I’m listening to the Hagen Quartet.
String Quartet no. 1 in G K. 80
- Surprise. A slow first movement.
- Lots of parallel harmonies.
- The accompanying players keep time with a steady beat through much of this movement.
- Creates an attractive atmosphere despite the relative simplicity of the piece.
- There are many entrances of a single instrument with a sustained high tone in the background slowly crescendoing into prominence. This is clearly an effect Mozart liked from an early age.
- Demands a fair amount of virtuosity right from the start.
- I enjoy the staggered imitative entrances. This is an techniqe used in many of the pieces I’ve already written about.
- Nice contrast between high and low instruments in the… development?
- Simple and attractive. Especially the trio section.
4. Rondeau (Allegro)
- Light hearted.
- Uses sudden dynamic shifts a lot for contrast.
- I like one section in particular. The viola (I believe, might also be the cello) has a brief solo, and the violins take on a very bouncy accompaniment.
This is attractive but clearly early. It’s simple in a way that I haven’t heard in the other pieces, even the “Sonata facile”. Naturally, with good players, the piece is still worth listening to and very enjoyable. There are a lot of terrific ideas, and some of his writing makes me think of later work, such as “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”.