1. Allegro

Form

Sonata

Theme (A major)

Motive

Important role as a closing tag for the exposition and as a motive during development
Derived from the first part of the theme (A) which is also a tag at the end of the 1st 8 measures (1st phrase).

Theme (C major)

Theme (E major)

introduces triplet rhythm and motive

Notes

This is an elegant and even dainty sonata, somewhat unusual for an opening movement with its 3/4 time signature.The exposition presents at least four solid thematic ideas. Though each is a fine integrity of its own, on closer inspection, they appear to be essentially just motives: gestures. The first, is a lovely curve, a dish, falling and rising with the gentle intimacy of a single voice. In a constrast between polyphony and homophony, this first line always represents the polyphonic. Throughout the quartet, it almost always appears in the context of imitative counterpoint, initiated by one voice which deftly passes it to another. It is interesting that this theme sppears at the end of the exposition as well as the beginning. Unlike many classical sonatas, this exposition seems to return back to its own beginning for a tiny recap of events transpired. It is a brief, relaxing arrival within the much larger final arrival of the entire sonata.

At the other textural extreme, is the second idea, a brief and bold motive extracted directly from the first notes of the initial theme. It is stated in lound unision, an immediate constrast to the soft singing of the first single line. It might even been seen as a sort of compressed inversion of the first theme: it is an inverted curve that rises and falls. These contrasts form the heart of this sonata whose development revolves entirely around these two ideas. The second motive interrupts the first theme, but restores balance again when it is appears in a different context (and key) to close the exposition. During the development, it achieves autonomy as the essential fabric of a searching journey.

The recapitulation is a lavish elongation of its original. The bubbling descent of triplets that grace the theme in the dominant key gets more room to flourish, adding a rich and characteristically Mozartian gallant flavor to the arrival. As a gesture, it is closly allied to the first theme, a light, falling line in a single voice, but even more gossamer.

Like much of Mozart's fluid chamber music, this movement is compact and smoothly crafted. There is a fresh lyricism at every turn, but the turns are effortless and natural. The richness is subtle, highly polished with a graceful surface.