W. A. Mozart:
String Quintet in G minor, K 516 (1787) 34′
String Quintet in C major, K 515 (1787) 31′
Fugues for String Quartet after J. S. Bach, K 405 (1782) 10′
Isabel Charisius, viola
Two key Mozart quintets, composed alongside each other, but quite opposite works.W. A. Mozart expanded the possibilities of chamber music through six quintets, which included two violas. The String Quintet in C major, K 515 and the String Quintet in G minor, K 516 are two sides of the same coin: Mozart composed them both during the spring of 1787, shortly after learning that his father was seriously ill. However, the contrast between the tones makes them two almost opposite works. Even though the final allegro is quite cheerful, the Quintet in C major has a predominantly tragic and obscure air. The Quintet in G minor, on the other hand, has a more vital and majestic character. The following year, Mozart repeated this set of tones in the Symphony in G minor, K 550, and in the Symphony in C major, K 551.
Five years earlier, Mozart had transcribed for string quartet, five fugues from J. S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier in order to learn the Baroque master’s technique. From that point on, many of Mozart’s works included more sophisticated counterpoint elements.