Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's String Quartet No. 15 in D minor K. 421/417b, the second of the Quartets dedicated to Haydn and the only one of the set in a minor key, is believed to have been completed in 1783. The quartet is, however, undated in the autograph.
It is in four movements:
- Allegro moderato
Andante (F major)
Menuetto and Trio (the latter in D major). Allegretto
- Allegretto ma non troppo
The first movement is characterized by a sharp contrast between the aperiodicity of the first subject group, characterized by Arnold Schoenberg as "prose-like," and the "wholly periodic" second subject group. In the Andante and the Minuet, "normal expectations of phraseology are confounded." The main part of the Minuet is in minuet sonata form, while "the contrasting major-mode Trio ... is ... almost embarrassingly lightweight on its own ... [but] makes a wonderful foil to the darker character of the Minuet." The last movement is a set of variations.
^ John Irving, Mozart: The 'Haydn' Quartets. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1998): 13. "There is an anecdote, reported by Constanze to Vincent and Mary Novello in 1829, that Mozart wrote the D minor quartet K.421 while she was in labour with their first child, Raimund, and therefore around 17 June 1783."
^ The Ten Celebrated String Quartets (2007), p. X
^ Irving (1998): 33
^ Irving (1998): 35
^ Charles Rosen, Sonata Forms. New York: W. W. Norton (1988): 112 - 114
^ Irving (1998): 36
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus; Finscher, Ludwig (preface); Anderson, Kinloch (transl.) (2007). The Ten Celebrated String Quartets. Kassel: Bärenreiter Verlag. ISMN M-006-20118-1