Movement 1: Allegro
Movement 2: Adagio ma non troppo
Movement 3: Menuetto: Allegro
Movement 4: Finale: Presto
The Allegro which he added to open the Piano Quartet is also unusual. Though it is cast in sonata form, Weber abandons convention as soon as he interestingly can. This is most evident at the start of the development. For classical composers, this was generally the section in which the most inventive working out of themes would take place. Weber is less attracted to this than to finding new themes in unexpected ways. None is more beautiful than the singing viola melody to which the other strings and the piano defer. His recapitulation is more regular, and ends with a graceful gesture to the opening of the whole movement. Even in the Menuetto, which follows the Adagio, there are metrical and harmonic surprises, as Weber answers his soft, uneven opening phrases violently and in an unexpected key (A flat in the key of G minor). He goes even further in the trio section, in the middle of which a forceful return of the opening rhythm drives the music into another startlingly remote key, G flat. His finale is a pianistic tour de force, serving notice that here, barely out of his teens, was one of the pioneering artists of Romantic virtuosity. The Quartet was completed on 25 September 1809.
from notes by John Warrack © 2005