‘the greatest composer I know’
In the mid-18th century, chamber music without a keyboard was a comparatively modern idea and was epitomized by the rapid growth of the string quartet. Many such works were quite simple, or composed in a concertante style for a lively first violin accompanied by the other players. Joseph Haydn is usually credited with developing equal participation by all four instruments, while matching, indeed exceeding, simpler-minded galant quartets in popularity. In this Haydn unwittingly posed a challenge to the keyboard-orientated Mozart, who seems more comfortable, in his earlier output of chamber music without keyboard, with a participating wind instrument. Mozart's string quartets divide into thirteen early works, and ten mature quartets: six dedicated to Haydn, one to Hoffmeister, and three intended for the king of Prussia.
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