Movement 1: Allegro non troppo
Movement 2: Andante con moto
Movement 3: Menuetto – Trio
Movement 4: Allegro vivace
The harmonic language of the Minuet is much simpler—unusually so for Mozart; in fact the style and mood of this movement are strikingly reminiscent of Haydn, in particular the Minuet of the E flat major Quartet Op 33 No 2. Mozart’s Trio even manages a gentle Haydnesque joke—the initial implication of C minor is smartly contradicted by a sforzando chord of B flat in bar eight. This kind of playfulness dominates the finale—a sort of compromise between conventional sonata and rondo forms. The opening theme approaches on tiptoe, in broken quavers, and the listener is completely unprepared for the explosion of first violin brilliance that follows. In the coda this strangely fragmentary little idea suddenly acquires completely new significance as the accompaniment to a soaring first violin line. Such lyricism is short-lived, however, and the movement ends with four staccato chords—first cautiously, pianissimo, then—emphatically—forte.
from notes by Stephen Johnson © 1991