WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART: String Quartet in D minor KV. 421 (1783) 27′
FRANZ SCHUBERT: String Quintet in C major, D 956, Op. posth. 163 (1828) 48'
Two months before his death, Schubert wrote to his editor to offer him piano sonatas: The Swan Song series, and a string quintet. Probst’s response was to request more songs, and to completely ignore the extraordinary Quintet for Strings, the last chamber work - and the only one for this instrumental formation - by the Viennese composer. Schubert adds a second cello to the classical quartet instead of a second viola, a resource that Luigi Boccherini had also used. The emotional and dramatic intensity contrasts with the brilliance of the overall key of C major, which has been attributed to a gesture in homage to the admired Mozart and Beethoven, authors of string quintets in the same key.
Mozart, in turn, venerated musically and personally appreciated the great Joseph Haydn, who in the late eighteenth century was the most famous composer in a Europe boiling over with the changes occurring from the industrial revolution. Haydn’s six Russian Quartets op. 33, deeply impressed Mozart, who was busy with children and piano recitals, and who took on the challenge of composing six quartets as a musical response of admiration and homage to his friend and teacher. The Quartet no. 15 is the second, and the only one in a minor key.
Santiago Cañón, cello