Hyperion Records

String Quartet in D minor, K421
composer
'Haydn' Quartet No 2

Recordings
'Mozart: The Six 'Haydn' String Quartets' (CDS44001/3)
Mozart: The Six 'Haydn' String Quartets
Buy by post £41.97 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDS44001/3  3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service  
Details
Movement 1: Allegro
Track 5 on CDS44001/3 CD1 [11'11] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service
Movement 2: Andante
Track 6 on CDS44001/3 CD1 [7'31] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service
Movement 3: Menuetto: Allegretto – Trio
Track 7 on CDS44001/3 CD1 [3'33] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service
Movement 4: Allegretto ma non troppo
Track 8 on CDS44001/3 CD1 [8'48] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service

String Quartet in D minor, K421
EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
If the D minor Quartet, K421, sounds more troubled than any of its companions, the expression still has an objective quality: we are a long way from the ‘confessional’ out­pourings of some of the later romantics. The opening theme of the first movement is certainly highly expressive, but the music’s elegance and concision make any attempt at personal-dramatic interpretation sound faintly ludicrous. The closely imitative writing in the development reflects Mozart’s growing interest in counterpoint: he had recently been introduced to the music of the Baroque contrapuntalists by his patron, the Baron van Swieten.

The F major Andante is more pithy, less melodically generous than many of Mozart’s other slow movements. The short, broken phrases of the first theme suggest that here Mozart was consciously imitating Haydn, as does the inclusion of a dramatic middle section in the tonic minor.

According to Constanze Mozart, the Minuet (Allegretto) expresses Mozart’s reaction to the rather painful birth of their first son, Raimund (Mozart was composing in an adjacent room at the time). Up to a point the mood of the music appears to confirm this story, but then what are we to make of the ghostly D major Trio? After the intense chromaticism of the Minuet this strangely fragile, almost mechanically pretty music has a distinctly ironic flavour.

The Finale (Allegretto ma non troppo) is cast in variation form, with a short coda in a faster tempo. The theme itself is curiously ambiguous: conflicting emotions of gaiety and melancholy are aroused by the jaunty 6/8 rhythm and the chromatic D minor-oriented harmonies. The fourth variation, in D major, brings a respite before the unequivocally anguished outbursts of the coda. The final tierce de picardie comes too late to provide any sense of consolation.

from notes by Stephen Johnson © 1991

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA66170 track 2
Andante
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-86-17002
Duration
7'31
Recording date
16 February 1985
Recording venue
St Barnabas's Church, North Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Thomas Daye
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Mozart: String Quartets, Vol. 1 (CDA66170)
    Disc 1 Track 2
    Release date: February 1987
    Deletion date: May 1991
    Superseded by CDS44001/3
  2. Mozart: The Six 'Haydn' String Quartets (CDS44001/3)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: May 1991
    Deletion date: July 2011
    3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service
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