84. Mozart for Four
- Mozart: String Quartet in F Major, K. 590
- Mozart: Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, K. 478
Written in 1790, Mozart’s String Quartet in F Major was Mozart’s final string quartet, part of an incomplete set written for the King of Prussia, an enthusiastic cellist. The quartets were written to show off the King’s cello-playing prowess, and this one is a charming work, sprightly and full of delightful contrasts. Next is Mozart’s first piano quartet, in G minor, which was commissioned as part of a set by the publisher Franz Anton Hoffmeister. Once Hoffmeister saw this first piano quartet, however, he cancelled the remaining commissions, realizing that the music was far beyond the abilities of most amateur musicians, for whom the publication was intended. At the time, Mozart was giving regular performances of his own piano concertos, and the quartet seems almost like a mini-concerto at times, with virtuosic piano writing. The sections in which all four players are on more equal footing, with intricate contrapuntal writing, were equally daunting to amateur players. Though the work may not have been a commercial success, it has become a well-loved gem in the somewhat limited piano quartet literature.