The pre-Romantic crisis reflects in the G minor Quintet as well. Apart from the dissonant first theme, every bar of the opening Allegro has an atmosphere and a restlessness unknown to the contemporary composers:
Maybe has Leopold’s recent death overwhelmed the usual optimism of Mozart music? In the following Minuet things don’t change, that’s for sure:
This piece reminds of some Haydn ‘Sturm und Drang’ minuets or the epic one from the C minor Serenata KV 388:
On the other hand, the Adagio ma non troppo is more melodic and chilled out, but what about the Brahms-like texture of the Adagio introducing the last movement?
With his Quintet in C major KV 515 and Quintet in G minor KV 516, Mozart gets together classicism and a music for time to come.
A comparison with Schubert Quintet D 956, which is directly inspired by KV 515 and owes a pair of themes to it, can show how much the first work of this diptych is advanced, even though the movements are built in a firmly classical way and the tunes of the Minuet and the Finale are extremely simple. Actually, this apparent lightness sets off again the very long opening piece, which is based on a C arpeggio. At a glance, it could seem the most harmless tune imaginable:
This simple, almost humble genesis, refers more to Beethoven than Schubert. It reminds of the first Razumovskij Quartet, arising from an equally shy theme, played by the cello over a sound carpet similar to the one which supports the Mozartean arpeggio: