It was back in 1777 when Mozart spent a few months in Mannheim, where he came in contact with the Dutch physicist Ferdinand Dejean, who, as an ardent music-lover, commissioned from the young composer “a few short, simple concertinos, as well as a few flute quartets”. At first Mozart set to work with enthusiasm and soon after the first flute quartet was finished. But shortly after having penned the double bar at the end of his first quartet, he met the young soprano Aloysia Weber, with whom he fell in love with. Very quickly, Dejean’s commission became a millstone around his neck and it took him several years to fulfill it.
Although the quartets in G, in C and in A do not have the breadth and, for some commentators, the quality of the quartet in D, they provide as a group a most comprehensive portrait of Mozart – the composer and the man. The charming ‘galant’ style of the quartets in G and in C recall Johann Christian Bach, one of Mozart’s models; it is well and truly in these works that Mozart surprises by his elegant simplicity, which contrasts with the exuberance of the Quartet in D.