The book which is the result of this combination of toil, intelligence, ability, knowledge, and affectionate devotion, could only have been successful by the addition to these qualities of a remarkable amount of literary tact and skill. The plan of the work is one which few English authors could by any possibility adopt. It is immense; at first sight its plan is bewildering. The book is not a Life of Mozart so much as an Encyclopaedia of musical art and biography. It opens with a minute account of Mozart's father, and of his method and his works, amounting to sixteen pages. Not only have we the narrative of the life of Mozart himself from his cradle to his grave in the smallest particulars, with a detailed examination of each work-in the case of the operas, both text and music, amounting in single operas to forty, fifty, and even ninety pages—but we have the history of the rise and progress of each branch of music that Mozart touched—and he touched them all—up to the date of his life. Witness the long notices of the Opera, the Oratorio, and Church music, and the chapter on Instrumental music in Vol. I.; the account of the French Opera, and of Lully, Rameau, Gluck, and Piccinni, in Vol. II. We have also full accounts of the social and musical condition of the various cities visited by Mozart, such as Paris, Mannheim, Salzburg, Munich, and Vienna; and biographical notices, longer or shorter, of every person with whom Mozart came into contact, or whom his biographer has occasion to mention.
In publishing these six quartets together Mozart certainly did not intend them to be regarded in all their parts as one whole; his object was to bring to view the many-sidedness of expression and technical treatment of which this species of music was capable. The first quartet, in G major (387 K.), and the fourth, in E flat major (428 K.), have a certain relationship in their earnest and sustained tone; but how different is the expression of energetic decision in the first from that of contemplative reserve in the fourth; a difference most noticeable in the andantes of the two quartets. Again, in the third and fifth quartets, in B flat (458 K.) and A major (464 K.), the likeness in their general character is individualised by the difference in treatment throughout. The second quartet, in D minor (421 K.), and the sixth, in C major (465 K.), stand alone; the former by its affecting expression of melancholy, the latter by its revelation of that higher peace to which a noble mind attains through strife and suffering. An equal wealth of characterisation and technical elaboration meets us in a comparison of the separate movements. The ground-plan of the first movement is the usual one, and the centre of gravity is always the working-out at the beginning of the second part, which is therefore distinguished by its length as a principal portion of the movement. The working-out of each quartet is peculiar to itself. In the two SIX QUARTETS, 1785. first the principal subject is made the groundwork, and combined with the subordinate subject closing the first part, but quite differently worked-out. In the G major quartet the first subject is spun out into a florid figure, which is turned hither and thither, broken off by the entry of the second subject, again resumed, only to be again broken off in order, by an easy play on the closing bar—