Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Austrian, 1756-1791): String Quartet in D Minor, 4th movement
Mozart doesn't need much introduction. You already know about him: child prodigy, virtuoso, tragically short life, master of many genres, especially the opera but also the symphony, concerto, piano sonata, and...string quartet.
This is the last movement from his D minor quartet, a series of variations on a theme. The piece ends with a "picardy third." This means that most of the piece is in a "minor" (sad) key, but the very last sound you hear is a "major" sonority, which I feel leaves the listener with a yearning, wistful feeling--not 100% sad but definitely not 100% happy either.
I'm sharing a performance I was in because it's on "period instruments" and in a "historically informed" style, and I had trouble finding something like that on spotify or YouTube. So this is me with wonderful colleagues Karina Schmitz (violin 2), Sarah Darling (viola), and Kate Bennett Wadsworth (cello).
In May 2017 I challenged my students to practice every day for 30 days in a row. In addition, I asked them to listen to 30 bite-sized musical selections I emailed daily. I collected my picks in this blog for posterity. So these are works I find particularly fun, interesting, or important, including a handful by composers who were born or who died in May. Please enjoy!