About this work
This quartet's opening Presto begins with a singing theme that glides over a waltzing accompaniment. Ths music's overall singing tone persists throughout, even as some more characteristically instrumental lines show up. The texture eventually becomes livelier as motivic figures sometimes show up in the accompaniment and the two violins exchange melodic phrases.
The subsequent Adagio turns to the minor mode and begins with an operatically flavored solo for the first violin accompanied by some chords that support its line and some that punctuate it. Later some of the other instruments answer the melody line as well as accompany it. The movement's plaintive expressiveness deepens in the second half--one particularly affective section involves the violins answering each other's phrases over repeated chords in the viola and cello.
The work concludes with a minuet (marked Tempo di Minuetto) that begins with a direct and assertive phrase that alternates with more singing material. The music turns more urbane and reflective as it progresses in the second part. The trio is relatively restrained and somewhat mysterious in expression with the two violins playing melodic statements over mostly staccato accompaniments from the viola and cello.