Mozart String Quartet in C, K.465 "Dissonant"
I: Adagio. Allegro
Just listen to the opening bars of this movement and you will see where this quartet gains its nickname from... the slow, dissonant Adagio may not seem very outlandish now in the 21st century, but in Mozart's day you can imagine how bizarre it must have sounded. In the 19th century there were even attempts to "fix" and "improve" some of the more objectionable parts. Some original patrons returned the music to the publisher, thinking that there were errors in the part.
However, the slow introduction is not a complete departure from convention. Even here, we hear the four-note theme that will be the basis for most of the material in this movement. After having set this dark, brooding tone in the introduction, Mozart then lightens things up in the Allegro with the entrance of a pure and innocent little melody in the violin. Incorporated into the melody, we hear again that same rising 4-note theme, except this time in a happier, major context.
This being a traditional first movement of a Classical string quartet, we are of
course following the sonata
form here. The exposition serves its purpose well enough, by
first establishing our key of C major, then modulating over to G
major... while all the while keeping those four rising notes
somewhere close to our minds. With the development, things get
rather stormy as we build tension on our way back to the home key
of C major again. Even here, our four note theme keeps a major role.
Finally, after we wrap things up in the recapitulation, the Allegro
ends just as softly and innocently as it began.
Hear this Movement
Recorded: in the TJHSST Auditorium on June 29, 1999
Violins: Michael Wilber, 1st; Laura Carr, 2nd;
Viola: Debdeep Maji;
Cello: Charles Han;
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