Wolfgang Amade Mozart, K 421 in D minor

This is one of Mozart’s six so-called “Haydn” quartets, dedicated to his famous predecessor and, as Mozart admitted in the dedication, the fruit of “langer und mühsamer Arbeit” (long and arduous work). The D minor quartet was probably completed in 1783 and its minor key first movement shows much evidence of that “Arbeit” in its strange reversals of usual quartet practice, with a lyrical, song-like opening that then breaks down into instability as the movement progresses.

This is a part of a series of lectures in which Professor Roger Parker resumes his collaboration with the award-winning Badke Quartet. Each of the six lectures is dedicated to a major work in the string quartet repertory. The focus this year will be on works written in Vienna in the years around 1800; three by Joseph Haydn, two by Wolfgang Amadé Mozart and one by Beethoven. Each session will begin with a lecture introducing the historical background and discussing the special nature of the quartet in question, and conclude with a complete performance of the work by the Badke Quartet.