Analysis of Mozart's K. 515 Mvt. 1

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Quintet No. 3 in C major, K. 515
Andrew McGuire
Dr. Burkart
MUSHIS 200
11/19/2012

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a prodigy of his time, and arguable the greatest of all time. This paper will discuss an analysis of his third string quintet in C major, K. 515. Through this piece in Sonata Form we will dissect the exposition, the development, the recapitulation, and the coda; along with an analysis of the quintet we will briefly discuss parts of Mozart’s life, as well as look at the background of the Viola Quintet No. 3 in C Major, K. 515.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born into a musical family after his sister Nannerl, by his father and mother Leopold and Anna Maria. His beginnings would originate in Salzburg, Austria (Eisen). As much is known about the education of little Wolfie we see that his father Leopold is responsible (Jeffery). We also discover that it was not just his musical education that concerned his father but other areas as well, such as arithmetic, reading, writing, and literature (Eisen). Much is not know about the mother of Mozart. She was born into a middle class non-musical family. His father, on the other hand was an accomplished musician and teacher born into life as a choirboy. The nearest compositions to Wolfie’s K. 515 are a second string quintet K. 516 and one of his better known Operas Don Giovanni.

Taking a short break from Don Giovanni Mozart would set off to write a pair off string quintets. K. 515 and K. 516. Written the age of 31, the better-known two of the pieces is the g minor quintet (K. 516), and the C major quintet (K. 515) is regarded as the finer of the two. Almost a month would separate the composing of the sister quintets both written for double viola. During the time of the second quartet would be the passing of his father, and some say that there may be a relation between the key of the g minor and the passing (Christiansen). This dual viola is different for the time, even given that Mozart preferred viola, was seen as odd. The number of his six viola quintets is seen as rare in comparison to the 66 cello quintets written by Boccherini. Even though these quintets maybe rare in amount, many consider them the finest of the string quintet repertoire (Christiansen).

The finer of our finest quintets begins in C major. The longest part of the first movement is undoubtedly the exposition. In the first of the one hundred and thirty-one measures of the exposition we see our first theme (see Figure 1).

Figure 1
Ninety-four measures later we see our second theme (see Figure 2).

Figure 2
Throughout the piece we will see our two themes return continuously in multiple keys. Anytime we see theme one return we see the two lines played between only the first violin and the cello. We see similar segregation for theme two with the first and second violins. The one time we see the violas given a theme to play is in the coda, and will be discussed later, this theme we will see is theme two in C major. Listening further we discover that our development turns out to be the shortest part of the piece (Absil).

Theme one reappears again in the beginning of the development section, only this time we see the theme appearing in the dominant of the piece (see Figure 3).

Figure 3
As the development progresses we also see theme two return as well in its original key, the harmonies we see differently, only briefly because it will be what leads us into the recapitulation (see Figure 4).

Figure 4
At the end of our very brief development we arrive at our recapitulation. In the recapitulation we see the return of both of our themes in the tonic key. Throughout the recapitulation we see our theme variations return as well in the tonic key. What is found most notable about the recapitulation is the way it ends. One might assume that it would end on the tonic or dominant, because of its movement to the coda, however we find the end of the recapitulation as a vii°65/V...
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