String Quartet No.5

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

String Quartet No.5 in F major


About this work

This quartet's soberly happy opening Allegro begins with an unaccompanied violin solo line that is answered by some shy chords. Later on there is a singing melody that glides over a rippling accompaniment. The development begins in the minor mode with with a unisonal staccato line that explicitly reveals the music's latent reflectiveness, and some more sustained discussion of the earlier material follows.

The subsequent Andante un poco allegretto holds forth in a plaintive tone, beginning with an unaccompanied minor-mode phrase that is passed around to all four instruments as the texture develops. Some sections have the feel of a conversation among the instruments, others that of an accompanied soliloquy. Later material proceeds in the major mode over sustained homophonic harmony or staccato chords.

The third movement, marked Tempo di Minuetto, begins with an urbane demeanor in a happy mood with a gliding minuet theme that is accompanied unisonally or with discreet chords. The second section begins with some antiphonal exchanges between the pair of violins and the pair of lower instruments that soon shade into the unisonal and unaccompanied phrases from the first part. Antiphonal exchanges between the first violin and the other instruments start off the tonally wandering trio, where eventually a melody with some unexpected harmonic turns glides forth over a waltzing accompaniment. The second half begins in homophonic two-part harmony with pairs of instruments answering each other.