Quatuor en fa majeur, K 590 (1790)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

string quartet

Program Notes

The String Quartet F Major belongs to the series of Mozart’s three last quartets (KV 575, 589 and 590), the so called “Prussian Quartets”. During spring 1789 Mozart visited Berlin and Potsdam, starting to write the quartet KV 575 soon after his return to Vienna. King Friedrich Wilhelm II. of Prussia was a great lover of the arts and especially of music - himself also being a good amateur cellist. A usual thing to do for a composer at this time was to let print a series of compositions at his own costs including an eloquent dedication to a member of the nobility. Usually this would be honored by a generous donation by this person. In the case of these string quartets this plan never could be carried out since Mozart’s desperate financial situation forced him to take every small opportunity to earn some money and postpone the writng of the planned quartets again and again. In the summer of 1790 he sold the quartets for a ridiculous sum to the publisher Artaria, who printed them three weeks after Mozart’s death, announcing them as “some of the most precious pieces of the great genius Mozart, whose too early death is an inestimable loss for the musical world”.