Recording: Verdi Quartet (Susanne Rabenschlag, 1st Violin; Johannes Hehrmann, 2nd  violin; Karin Wolf, viola; Zoltan Paulich, cello) with Hermann Voss, 2nd Viola [Hänssler 98.539]
Published 1891

This piece has the distinction of being what Brahms originally intended to be his last published work.  Joachim, with whom he had reconciled after a long dispute, had requested a companion piece to the Op. 88 quintet.  Brahms produced a refined masterpiece, and told his publisher that he had said all he could as a composer and that no more works should be expected.  Perhaps the opus number, the same as Beethoven’s last piano sonata, was symbolic.  A perusal of the works after Op. 111 shows that clarinetists, pianists, bass singers, and organists should be eternally grateful that he changed his mind.  At any rate, the G-major quintet is a breathtaking piece, almost orchestral in conception, creating the effect of far more than five instruments.  This is especially true in the first movement, whose full opening has placed fear into the hearts of many cellists.  Joachim asked him to tone down the tremolo in the upper instruments, but at this point in his career, he did not second guess himself.  The movement’s energy never really abates, despite much quiet material, and Brahms uses the supple 9/8 meter to play his beloved rhythmic games.  The other three movements are all much shorter (each successively so in terms of performance time), and all have a distinctive “gypsy” or “Slavonic” element, especially the czardas-like finale (which begins in the “wrong” key).  This is in homage both to Joachim’s Hungarian heritage and Brahms’s own earlier works in that style.  The slow movement is admired for its rich, bold harmonies and progressions.  The third movement could be called a scherzo, but is really a gentle, melancholy waltz.  Particularly in the middle section, it often sounds like a piece by Dvořák, perhaps intentionally so.  The brevity of the other movements is no excuse for omitting the exposition repeat in the first movement, which has a greater than usual structural significance.

ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck)

1st Movement: Allegro non troppo, ma con brio (Sonata-Allegro form).  G MAJOR, 9/8 time.
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1.  The four upper instruments begin a strong, richly harmonized tremolo background.  Against this, in a notoriously difficult challenge for the cellist, that instrument projects the wide-ranging, heroic main theme.  It begins in the low register with a downward leap, but it then works upward quite quickly.  The rhythm of the theme, with its typical three-note and two-note upbeats, sets it apart.  The cello theme reaches the high register and hints at the related E minor key before a distinctive descent.  The upper strings continue their tremolo motion at a strong level, changing harmonies when needed.
0:21 [m. 8]--The tremolo motion stops.  The cello continues its melody with the rising motive of a long note followed by two short ones.  The two violins imitate this in harmony.  The key of B major is suggested here.  The violas and second violin suggest the tremolo against a first violin syncopation and a cello descent.  The violins then take the long-short material, with the cello still leading in counterpoint, moving through C major.  The first violin reaches up for a high descent as the cello and second viola play in syncopation.  The tremolo motion begins again in the inner instruments as the first violin and cello build toward the climax.
0:39 [m. 14]--The instruments have a huge arrival on a C major chord.  The violas pass ascending arpeggios between them in cross rhythms derived from the theme.  The tension increases even more, and is released by a re-emergence of the theme’s opening in the second viola.  It is quickly passed to the first violin, which soars above the texture.  The first violin introduces a new line as the theme’s rhythm continues in the violas and second violin.  Leaping syncopations lead into the transition.
0:58 [m. 21]--Transition.  The instruments come together and sharply force out a D major chord.  The second violin trails downward, and another chord is forced out, this time a dissonant “diminished” chord.  The second violin trails down again, and another “diminished’ chord is forced out.  The first viola now trails, leading to a cascading descent on the first violin against an arching ascent and descent in the cello, all on another “diminished” chord while the inner instruments play thick single-note tremolo.  This emerges into a quiet preparation for Theme 2, with the second viola trailing into it.
1:15 [m. 26]--Theme 2, Part 1.  The violas lead the tune in harmony, with short fragments punctuated by detached responses from the violins, the cello now playing pizzicato.  The first viola and cello emerge into a descending cross rhythm (D major).
1:28 [m. 30]--The violins now lead on the short melodic fragments.  The responses are replaced by downward-arching lines in the first viola.  The first violin, with the cello, which begins to be bowed at this point, emerges into the cross rhythm heard earlier from the first viola.
1:41 [m. 34]--  The first violin leads an expansion of the theme in F-sharp minor that incorporates the cross rhythms.  After moving back to D major, the expansion dissipates into short off-beat sigh figures in the top three instruments with the second viola “pushing” into them with syncopations.
1:54 [m. 38]--Theme 2, Part 2.  The second violin leads this tune, in a skipping syncopated short-long rhythm.  The other instruments accompany with arching lines, including the first violin.  The cello is plucked again.  At the end of the phrase, a rising arpeggio from the first violin and first viola leads to the next statement.
2:07 [m. 42]--The first violin takes over the short-long tune with great gentleness.  The arpeggios just heard continue in the inner instruments along with the arching lines, both played in counterpoint to the tune.  At the end of the phrase, there is a rapid buildup in volume, and the arpeggios emerge in all the instruments, now shooting upward in a much faster, powerful triplet rhythm.
2:20 [m. 46]--Closing Theme.  The powerful arpeggios reach a cadence that leads into the closing theme.  The phrasing and accentuation of this tune obscure the beat and meter.  The inner instruments play in tremolo on rapidly repeated notes, continuing the triplet rhythm from the arpeggios.  Other than this inward pulsation, they move together with the first violin and cello, beginning in unison but then diverging into harmonies.  The theme begins in a low register, than moves upward.  The cello and second viola have sharp off-beat chords.  The continuation moves again to F-sharp minor.  There is more syncopation and some imitation, and the first violin joins the triplet tremolo pulsation.  Finally, it descends to a half-cadence.
2:41 [m. 53]--Very quietly, D major is restored with an echo of the closing theme that quickly devolves into syncopated chords held over strong beats and bar lines.  These continue, and reach a cadence in D major.  In the first statement of the exposition, the cadence is completed, which is not the case in the second statement.  This is why taking the repeat is absolutely essential in this late work.
2:54 [m. 57, first ending]--The first ending to the exposition moves back to the home key of G major by quietly slipping into the rhythm of the main theme.  The second violin and second viola are gently plucked.  The first violin and first viola pass Theme 1 fragments between them until they emerge into a cross rhythm, with the intensity quickly and powerfully increasing.  Here, the cello begins Theme 1 just before the upper instruments can bring things together again on the tremolo, the two “plucking” instruments quickly picking up their bows.   
3:00 [m. 2 (59)]--Theme 1.  From this point, the cello having begun the theme without the initial tremolo figures preceding it, the theme continues from the downward leap as at the beginning.
3:17 [m. 8]--Long-short-short motive and motion through B major and C major, as at 0:21.
3:35 [m. 14]--Arrival on C-major chord and re-emergence of the theme’s opening, as at 0:39.
3:55 [m. 21]--Transition with forced chords, as at 0:58.
4:12 [m. 26]--Theme 2, Part 1.  Short viola fragments with detached responses, as at 1:15.
4:25 [m. 30]--Violin statement of the short fragments, as at 1:28.
4:37 [m. 34]--Expansion in F-sharp minor, as at 1:41.
4:50 [m. 38]--Theme 2, Part 2.  Skipping short-long melody, as at 1:54.
5:04 [m. 42]--Gentle first violin statement followed by rapid buildup and triplet arpeggios, as at 2:07.
5:16 [m. 46]--Closing Theme, with obscured meter, tremolo repetitions, and motion to half-cadence in F-sharp minor, as at 2:20.
5:38 [m. 53]--Restoration of D major and syncopated chords, as at 2:41.  The cadence is not completed, and is left hanging on the “dominant” chord in preparation for the development section.
5:51 [m. 57, second ending]--The entire development section uses the two-flat key signature of G minor and B-flat major.  It begins in B-flat major with a very quiet tremolo in triplets, against which the first viola, then the first violin, tentatively present a rising third.  The two instruments then alternate again on higher thirds.  They begin to slowly arch downward.  The first viola slips into the tremolo of the other instruments, then the second violin emerges out of it, joining the first violin in contrary motion on the arching line.
6:19 [m. 65]--The tremolo figures now pulsate on repeated notes.  The first violin and first viola surge forward with the rising third figures, but now strongly accent and harmonize them.  The music greatly increases in intensity, moving first through B-flat minor, then to G minor, both related minor keys to the previous B-flat major.
6:31 [m. 69]--A long passage of counterpoint begins in G minor.  Fragments of Theme 1 are passed between the instruments, all in arpeggios.  Faster arpeggios are directly juxtaposed with slower ones.  They are regularly punctuated with sharp tremolo chords.  As the counterpoint builds to a climax, the first violin plays high notes in syncopation along with other cross-rhythm figures in the lower instruments.  A cadence in G minor leads to the following statement of Theme 1.
7:00 [m. 79]--With tremolo preparation in the violins, the cello suddenly and strongly begins a statement of Theme 1 with a four-string chord.  It starts in E-flat major, but quickly becomes unstable and veers toward D-flat.  The second viola joins the cello in dovetailing fragments, while the upper three instruments continue the tremolo.
7:14 [m. 84]--The music suddenly quiets down, and a seemingly new harmonized melody derived from Theme 1 is heard in a lilting rhythm in the remote key of D-flat major, moving to A-flat.  It is then shifted upward and restated E major, moving to B.  After both statements of the lilting melody, repeated detached notes become more prominent and more ominous.
7:38 [m. 90]--The “ominous” nature of the detached notes is here fulfilled in a mysterious passage with winding harmonized violins and continuing repeated detached notes.  The passage is stated in G minor, then in B-flat minor in a reversal of the pattern from 6:19 [m. 65].  The B-flat minor statement is diverted to F.
7:52 [m. 94]--In a sudden outburst, the “ominous” repeated notes become powerful, beginning the re-transition to the recapitulation.  The repeated notes alternate with powerfully downward-winding descents, moving up in harmony from C major/minor through D minor to E major.  The cello alternates with the downward-winding descents as well, turning them around to ascents.  Upon reaching E major, the repeated notes become more heavy, and are expanded, leading through A minor to C major.
8:11 [m. 100]--The melody from 7:14 [m. 84] is now presented powerfully in C major, only to be interrupted again by the heavy repeated notes.  The tremolo returns in the lower instruments, signifying that the recapitulation is imminent.
8:21 [m. 103]--In the final re-transition, the previous passage is restated in E-flat major, but is now interrupted by ascending arpeggios that break off the tremolo and move from the violas to the violins, introducing cross rhythms similar to those heard in the first ending of the exposition.  Only at the last moment, as the cello suddenly emerges into Theme 1, does the music slip from E-flat major into G major.
8:30 [m. 106]--Theme 1.  The cello begins it, as expected, but the accompaniment, with plunging violin arpeggios, is different.  After one bar, the first violin takes up the theme from the cello, the latter instrument joining the other three on the shimmering tremolo motion.  The first violin continues the theme with its original contour, albeit two octaves higher than the cello presentation.
8:48 [m. 112]--Here, in the passage analogous to 0:21 and 3:17 [m. 8], the first violin diverges from the exposition.  While the motive with a long note followed by two short ones is used here as expected, the harmonies are different, and while the two violins play together in sonorous parallel thirds, there is no imitation at first.  Almost ironically, the cello alone continues the tremolo, the violas playing in direct counterpoint to the violins and taking the original cello descent heard after the motive (while the violins reverse the direction, moving upward).  The motive continues, now with the violas imitating the violins.  The passage is condensed, omitting the passage from 0:39 and 3:35 [m. 14], and leading into the transition.
9:01 [m. 116]--Transition.  The previous passage having reaffirmed the home key of G major, the transition is played there instead of on D, as before.  The only real difference otherwise from 0:58 and 3:55 [m. 21] is that the trailing lines are reversed.  The first viola takes the first two trailing lines after the “forced” chords, and the second violin takes the last one before the first violin plunge and cello arch.
9:18 [m. 121]--Theme 2, Part 1, in the home key of G.  The scoring of the fragments and responses is as in the exposition at 1:15 and 4:12 [m. 26], with the cello playing pizzicato as before.
9:31 [m. 125]--As at 1:28 and 4:35 [m. 30], the violins now lead.  There is variation here in that the second viola now joins the first on the arching lines, creating new harmonies.
9:44 [m. 129]--The expansion from 1:41 and 4:37 [m. 34] is now heard in B minor, as would be expected in an analogous motion to the F-sharp minor of the exposition.  The scoring is nearly the same, but the two violins reverse roles in the closing “sigh” figures.
9:58 [m. 133]--Theme 2, Part 2.  In a significant difference from 1:54 and 4:50 [m. 38], the skipping short-long melody is presented by the first violin rather than the second.  This requires the first violin to merge directly from the melody into the ascending arpeggio at the end of the phrase.
10:11 [m. 137]--The gentle statement is very similar to 2:07 and 5:04 [m. 42], but descending arpeggios are now mixed with ascending ones in the accompaniment.  The rapid increase in volume and the upward-shooting arpeggios in triplets follow as expected.
10:24 [m. 141]--Closing Theme.  The obscured meter and tremolo repetitions follow the patterns of 2:20 and 5:16 [m. 46], leading to a half-cadence in B minor.
10:46 [m. 148]--The cello slips down, smoothly moving back to G major.  The passage from 2:41 and 5:48 [m. 53] is omitted.  Instead, the figures from the closing theme, no longer obscuring the meter, lead into the very gentle and serene beginning of the coda.  They are passed between the first violin and both violas, with the second violin adding syncopated descending counterpoint.  The first viola later joins the second violin in unison.  These instruments continue to pass these figures, with the cello mostly providing a drone bass.  The first violin reaches quite high and becomes syncopated, veering suddenly to the minor key.  A cello arpeggio leads into the following passage.
11:14 [m. 157]--A rich and warm, but melancholy passage in G minor is based on Theme 2, Part 2, the short-long melody, which is taken by the first violin and incorporates the arching lines.  The second violin and first viola play faster arpeggios with some syncopation, while the second viola and cello play slower arching lines.  At the end, the melody is fragmented into shorter descending “sigh” figures, leading into the next passage in major.
11:32 [m. 162]--Now, in a moment of great serenity, figures from Theme 1 and Theme 2, Part 2 are combined.  The Theme 1 figures (ascending arpeggios) are heard in the lower instruments, the short-long figures from Theme 2, Part 2 in the violins (the first viola actually takes both elements at different times).
11:46 [m. 166]--The short-long figures are now mixed with smooth arching arpeggios from the violins.  The Theme 1 material continues in the lower instruments, and descending arpeggios now join the ascending ones.  The music makes harmonic digressions to the related minor keys of E and F-sharp.  It becomes quieter and slower, reaching a suspended half-cadence in E minor.
12:10 [m. 172]--Suddenly, the volume and speed return to their full levels, and two sharp chords from the entire ensemble lead quickly from E minor back to G major.  The tremolo repetitions are heard in the inner instruments against a descending first violin arpeggio and an ascending cello one.  The inner instruments then turn to the oscillating tremolo associated with Theme 1.  The first violin and cello play a powerful cadence gesture that is directly taken from the end of the development section at 8:21 [m. 103].  This is expanded, some cross rhythms are heard, and the cadence is punctuated with strong chords.
12:26 [m. 178]--The cadence leads to some final joyous reminiscences of Theme 1 in all instruments, passed from top to bottom, the cello appropriately taking the rising arpeggio last.  The other instruments plunge downward before the two last brilliant chords, in which all instruments except the cello play triple and quadruple stops.
12:42--END OF MOVEMENT [181 mm.]

2nd Movement: Adagio (Ternary/Rondo hybrid form).  D MINOR, 2/4 time.
A Section
0:00 [m. 1]--Principal (Rondo) theme.  The violas present it, the first taking the melody and the second providing a prominent counterpoint.  The cello accompanies with steady, widely leaping plucked notes.  The melody is notable for its heavily leaning toward the “dominant” key (with the prominent chromatic G-sharp on a short note) and for the distinctive five-note turning figure in the second bar.
0:12 [m. 3]--As the violins enter, not taking over the melody, but providing harmony to the first viola melody, the key suddenly shifts to C major.  The plucked cello plays a sharp ascending dotted rhythm, taken over by the bowed second viola.  The first viola continues to spin out the melody, making another decorated excursion to B-flat as the cello takes up the bow.  Slipping back to C major and into languid triplets, the melody leads through a subtle progression to the “dominant” harmony of the home key on a quiet tremolo.
0:43 [m. 9]--Episodic theme.  The first violin plays short, isolated figures introduced by short notes.  The second violin enters in harmony and quasi-imitation on the same figures.  The lower three instruments provide isolated support on the off-beats.  The short figures start to constitute a melancholy melody that, like the principal theme, leans heavily toward the “dominant” harmony.
1:02 [m. 13]--The first viola has an isolated transition in a triplet rhythm that is clearly derived from the principal theme.  The second viola and cello join in light off-beat harmonies leading back to the theme itself, and the first viola incorporates some light syncopation.
1:13 [m. 15]--Principal theme.  The first two bars transfer the viola parts to the violins, an octave higher than the opening, with the second viola playing the wide plucked notes originally played by the cello.  It is also played quietly and expressively, whereas the opening was more forceful.
1:24 [m. 17]--The shift to C major happens as expected, but the material itself is varied, with the dotted rhythm passed between descending violins and ascending lower instruments at an extremely quiet level.  The first viola, given so much prominence earlier, here merely provides harmonic support.  One statement of this alternation in C major is immediately followed by a second in A minor.  A third is in C major again, but with a striking internal A-major harmony.  Finally, a fourth statement without the ascending lower instruments moves again to the “dominant” harmony (A major, already strongly implied) of D minor.
2:05 [m. 25]--Episodic theme.  It begins as before in the first violin, but the supporting lower instruments are now given short lead-in notes similar to those heard in the melody itself.  When the second violin enters, the harmony and direction are immediately altered.  The “dominant” key is still emphasized, but at the end, the home key of D minor is more strongly asserted by shifting the entire melody and harmonies down a fifth from their original ending in the statement at 0:43 [m. 9].
2:25 [m. 29]--The triplet rhythm transition is now played by the first violin and first viola in octaves, with the second violin and second viola, and later the cello, joining in with the light off-beat harmonies much sooner than in the statement at 1:02 [m. 13].  The transition is extended by two bars.  The first violin leaps strongly downward, then the cello arches down and back up, building strongly in volume and moving toward E-flat major and G minor.  The first violin re-enters in preparation for the principal theme.
2:43 [m. 33]--Principal theme, played in its entirety in the key of G minor.  The violins take the theme and its counterpoint, and the plucked accompaniment is now broken into faster notes played by the first viola and cello in alternation.
2:53 [m. 35]--The harmonic shift is analogous, moving from G minor to F major.  The plucked dotted rhythms are heard as expected, with the bowed second viola joining the cello, the first viola providing a new and more steady (still plucked) background.  The cello takes up the bow in the same place as before, and a brief analogous digression to E-flat leads to the analogous “dominant” of G minor after the languid triplets, where the first viola finally takes up the bow and Brahms deftly re-scores the original passage.
3:21 [m. 41]--Transition.  The music becomes steadily quieter, and the instruments begin a colorful progression of chords.  An echo of the languid triplets is briefly heard in G minor, and then the colorful, hushed chord progression begins again.  It includes several unstable “diminished seventh” chords and much mode mixture.  It dies down to almost nothing.
B Section
3:56 [m. 48]--Beginning in G minor, the formerly “languid” triplets burst upon the scene in dramatic fashion, alternating between violins and violas, the cello providing a leaping bass.  The triplets then become syncopated, with heavy accents.  The material is given again a step lower, in F major, with the violas leading.  After more syncopation, the violins plunge downward, leading back to the home key of D minor.
4:11 [m. 52]--The principal theme suddenly emerges, but it is in the key of D major rather than minor.  It is played by the violins, the cello providing the wide-ranging plucked accompaniment as expected, but the violas unexpectedly carry over the triplet rhythm from the previous passage.
4:19 [m. 54]--Instead of the expected colorful harmonic shift at this point, the descending arpeggios in dotted rhythm from 1:24 [m. 17] appear in a closely related key, B minor, in the violins in harmony.  The mood is quite stormy and agitated.  The cello immediately takes a similar descent in dotted rhythm, shifting back to the home key against a dissonant chord.
4:27 [m. 56]--The home key of D minor is firmly established here.  The cello turns the dotted rhythm around, ascending as it did in previous appearances of the principal theme.  The first violin begins to play the continuation of the theme as first heard from 0:12 [m. 3], but now remaining at home harmonically.  The three inner instruments continue to descend in the dotted rhythm, but introduce a sharp and feverish syncopation.
4:34 [m. 58]--The syncopation breaks off as the violin melody reaches its climax.  The second violin joins it in counterpoint.  The accompaniment figures of the lower instruments, still featuring the dotted rhythm, become more feverish.  The melody itself reaches higher than before and then gradually descends.
4:48 [m. 62]--With a sharp accent on the last beat of the previous bar, the first violin speeds up its motion.  The other instruments are even faster, playing a rapid tremolo (with repeated notes and chords) in a very fast triplet rhythm.  The second violin and first viola soon abandon this, joining the first violin in harmony.  The second viola and cello continue with the shuddering tremolo.  Finally, the instruments slow down, the first violin descending by half-steps and the others supporting it, the first viola ascending against it.
5:08 [m. 66]--As a re-transition, the first viola plays a long and elaborate lead-in with multiple leaps and cross-rhythms, supported by long notes in the second viola and cello.  The second violin also holds a note for some of the large run.  The first viola descends, diminishes, and slows down, leaping down into a very strong cadence onto the home key.  This viola run is similar to a passage at the end of the third movement (scherzo) of the third string quartet in B-flat (Op. 67).
A’ Section
5:21 [m. 69]--The first bars of the principal theme return in their original form and key, except that the violins play the melody and counterpoint rather than the violas.  The theme is quiet and expressive.
5:33 [m. 71]--Instead of the expected harmonic shift, the music remains in the home key of D minor, and the first violin begins to play a variant of the succeeding music that is both gentle and melancholy.  The cello is bowed after plucking the two previous bars and joins the second violin and second viola in syncopated harmonies held across bar lines.  The first viola provides echoes of the melancholy variant.  The instruments swell one last time and settle to a cadence on a D major (not minor) chord.  The first violin then slips down for the final statement.
6:04 [m. 77]--The first violin plays a last statement of the theme’s first two bars, but, in keeping with the harmonic adventures throughout the movement, it is the G-minor version at a subdued volume and lower pitch level.  The theme’s emphasis on the “dominant” proves to be prophetic here.  The “dominant” of G minor is D major, and the theme stops on that chord (D minor being the home key of the movement), ending with a few reiterations and cello syncopations.  Because of this last bit of G minor, the final D-major chords sound strangely incomplete, and lead rather smoothly into the G-minor key of the next movement.
6:33--END OF MOVEMENT [80 mm.]

3rd Movement: Un poco Allegretto (Ternary form resembling a scherzo and trio).  G MINOR,  3/4 time.
A Section (“Scherzo”)
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1.  The first violin leads in a very melancholy waltz tune.  The accompaniment is given a skittish effect by the first viola and cello always playing on the beats while the second violin and second viola always play after them.  Even-numbered bars have accompaniment rests, on the second beat in m. 2 and m. 4, and on the third beat thereafter.  After the two opening gestures, the first violin reaches higher, then gradually descends.  The descent to the half-cadence is stretched out, creating a twelve-bar phrase.
0:18 [m. 13]--Part 1, varied repeat.  The first violin phrase is reprised at first, but the accompaniment is changed.  Smoother lines replace the skittish alternations.  At first, only the cello plays on the downbeat in the accompaniment, but later all the instruments become more smooth.  The skittish nature is restored in the last four bars, but the smoother lines are still used.  Halfway through the phrase, the first violin begins to share some of its line with the second violin, and the melody itself is subtly altered in the last four bars to sound more conclusive at the D-minor cadence.  The entire repetition is at a quieter level.
0:34 [m. 25]--Part 2.  Two complementary contrasting phrases are heard, the first in C minor, the second in B-flat minor.  The first viola plays in quasi-imitational counterpoint with the first violin, and actually leads in the second phrase.  The second violin and second viola largely play syncopated repeated notes, while the cello provides a sparse bass accompaniment.
0:46 [m. 33]--In a passage of buildup, the first violin and cello play in unison two octaves apart while the inner instruments provide a syncopated background of repeated harmonies.  The passage remains in B-flat minor.  At the end, the other instruments join the rhythm of the outer ones in the climactic arpeggios with cross-meter groupings suggesting a brief 2/4.  Only the second viola plays a slower line.
1:00 [m. 43]--At the top of the climax, the first violin and cello wrench the music back to a highly chromatic G minor.  The inner instruments have sharp syncopations, and the material recalls the opening waltz phrases of Part 1.  Then the music plunges downward with each instrument entering from top to bottom except for the cello, which provides a steady bass.  Finally, the first violin is isolated for two highly plaintive arching phrases, the second a fourth lower than the first.
1:13 [m. 53]--One final phrase is added as an extended cadence.  It is now the cello that plays repeated syncopated notes.  The music becomes gradually more subdued.  Halfway through, the first violin slows down the characteristic three-note gesture that ended the phrases of Part 1 by lengthening the notes.  This happens against more disorienting cross rhythms.  The inner instruments then take up the gesture.  Two hushed and suddenly major chords end the section.
1:24 [m. 25]--Part 2 repeated.  Two complementary phrases in C minor and B-flat minor, as at 0:34.
1:35 [m. 33]--Passage of buildup in B-flat minor, as at 0:46.
1:48 [m. 43]--Climactic passage ending with plaintive first violin lines, as at 1:00.
2:02 [m. 53]--Final cadence phrase ending with G-major chords, as at 1:13.
B Section (“Trio”)--G major
2:13 [m. 61]--Part 1.  The middle section is a gentle, rustic dance with a discernible Slavonic character.  It is set in the major key.  The cello provides a drone-like bass with arching arpeggios throughout.  The violas lead, and the violins follow, completing the musical phrase.  The violas dovetail back for a second phrase that the violins also complete.  This phrase moves to B minor.  The following viola entry shifts this to B major, whereupon an arpeggio on a “diminished seventh” from cello and first viola aids in the transition back to G major for the repeat, and completes a twelve-bar phrase.
2:30 [m. 61]--Part 1 repeated.
2:47 [m. 73]--Part 2.  In a passage of harmonic ambiguity, the violins and second viola hold long notes while the cello and first viola play arpeggios.  At first, B-flat is suggested, but then the arpeggios are shifted up a half-step, indicating that they will again arrive on B.
2:55 [m. 79]--In another passage of gradual buildup, the harmonies are again shifted, now suggesting C major.  The  violins and first viola play a swinging rhythm against the continuing arpeggios.  This culminates in two descending phrases that both suddenly quiet down.  The first suddenly arrives on the previously expected B minor.  The second reaches a cadence in the home key of G.
3:09 [m. 89]--A small lead-in that continues the previous swinging rhythm over syncopated repeated notes emerges into a reprise of the Part 1 material.  The second phrase makes a divergence, avoiding the motion to B minor.  The phrase is extended, with the instruments suggesting a highly chromatic C major.  The second viola and cello become syncopated.  Finally, the music seems to move back to G major with the familiar swinging rhythm from Part 2.  This speeds up and swells, but never quite arrives fully on G.
3:31 [m. 105]--At the climax, the first violin reaches up and plunges downward.  The second violin and first viola retain their active motion over long notes in the second viola and cello.  This downward plunge initiates a transition back to G minor and to the reprise of the main “scherzo” section.  The second viola, then the first violin, turn around and reach back upward, and the “trio” ends on a suspended dissonance.
Reprise of A Section  (“Scherzo”)
3:41 [m. 111]--Part 1.  Melancholy, skittish waltz tune, as at the beginning.
3:58 [m. 123]--Part 1, varied repeat, with smoother accompaniment lines, as at 0:18 [m. 13].
4:14 [m. 135]--Part 2.  Complementary phrases in C minor and B-flat minor, as at 0:34 and 1:24 [m. 25].
4:25 [m. 143]--Passage of buildup in B-flat minor, as at 0:46 and 1:35 [m. 33].
4:39 [m. 153]--Climactic passage ending with plaintive first violin lines, as at 1:00 and 1:48 [m. 43].
4:52 [m. 163]--Final cadence phrase ending with G-major chords, as at 1:13 and 2:02 [m. 53].
5:03 [m. 171]--The coda is a mildly decorated version of the rustic dance material from the “trio” in G major.  After one phrase, the first violin emerges into isolated rising two-note figures with descending responses from the inner instruments over syncopated repeated notes (on the “dominant” note, D) from the cello.  As the music becomes ever quieter, the cello, dovetailing with the first viola, plays an ascending arpeggio on a “diminished seventh,” but this mild disquiet is quickly dismissed with a plucked cello chord and two final G-major chords from all instruments, the first one short, and the second one held longer.
5:26--END OF MOVEMENT [183 mm.]

4th Movement: Vivace ma non troppo presto (Sonata-Rondo form).  B MINOR--G MAJOR, 2/4 time.
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1 (Rondo Theme).  The first viola, lightly accompanied by the second viola and cello, plays the hushed gypsy-inspired main theme, whose defining characteristic is its trill-like opening on an upbeat.  It begins in the “wrong” key, B minor, and remains there until the three instruments reach a half-cadence.  It is not the minor-key opening that is unusual (the main key of the quintet is a major key), but the fact that it is not centered on G (the center of the 1st and 3rd movements and also heavily present in the 2nd).
0:10 [m. 9]--The violins enter and begin the theme at the same pitch level, but at a sudden loud volume and with new harmonies that shift it decisively to the “correct” key of G major.
0:14 [m. 13]--The instruments begin a richly harmonized and joyous dance tune in G major, the cello playing plucked chords.  After this full statement, it is given again at a suddenly quiet level and incorporates the trill-like rhythm associated with the Rondo Theme.  The first violin and first viola pass the trill-like figures between them, and the cello drops out for the quiet statement.
0:22 [m. 21]--A sort of “closing phrase” with slower chords and repeated notes somewhat obscures the meter.  Its repetition rapidly increases in volume, introducing the trill-like motion again, and plunges downward in full harmony with powerful accents.
0:33 [m. 31]--The opening material returns, with the trill figures in the first violin and heavy off-beat syncopation in the supporting harmonies.  Rather than settling again on B minor, it instead moves to the related major key to B minor.  This happens to be D major, which is the “dominant” of the home key of G major and where the second theme would be expected to appear.  The trill figures emerge into a sweeping arch, and three-note descents passed between the two violins lead into the following triplet rhythm.
0:40 [m. 38]--Transitional passage.  The second violin and first viola introduce a murmuring triplet rhythm while the second viola and cello play plucked supporting material.  The first violin plays isolated three-note fragments beginning on upbeats.  The material is anchored to a bass note of A, which is the “dominant” of D major and helps to greatly anticipate an already expected pull toward D for the second theme.
0:50 [m. 47]--The transitional passage centered on A continues, with two-note fragments passed between second violin and first viola, the first violin joining the lower instruments on the plucked material.  The murmuring triplets drop out here.
0:54 [m. 52]--Theme 2.  D major finally clearly emerges here, and the first violin plays the winding Theme 2 in triplet rhythm.  It consists mostly of arching arpeggios with smooth chord support and light accents on weak beats.  After an initial phrase in which the first violin ends up shooting farther upward, the triplets are passed to the other instruments.  The second violin descends with them, then the cello and first viola ascend, and finally the second viola and cello descend again.  They briefly come to rest on a quietly suspended dissonance (an “augmented sixth” chord).
1:05 [m. 61]--The arching triplets of Theme 2 erupt in a sudden outburst.  The theme is then extended with strong syncopations in the violins against continuing triplets in the lower instruments.  The first violin then enters with a plunging arpeggio on the triplet rhythm  This leads to a cadence on D major.  The syncopated material and the plunging arpeggio are stated again, with the arpeggio a step lower and the cadence shifted to the home key of G major for the return of the Rondo Theme and the beginning of the development.
1:18 [m. 73]--The music is suddenly quiet again.  In a transition to the Rondo Theme at the G-major cadence, the trill figures are passed between the two violas and then to the violins.  When the violins get them, they steadily descend against a very quiet background.
1:26 [m. 81]--Rondo Theme.  It is given in B minor, as at the opening, but the opening is passed from the first viola to the first violin.  The continuation is given to the first viola as at the opening, but the second violin is now incorporated into the accompaniment.  The theme is lightly varied and extended by a bar.  The first violin drops out after its isolated participation in the beginning of the theme.  As at the opening, the theme reaches a half-cadence.
1:36 [m. 90]--The half-cadence in B minor is mysteriously diverted in a new direction with echoes of the jumping motive directly preceding it.  The music becomes even quieter, and the harmony moves from B minor toward G minor, descending through B-flat and A.  The chords are colorful and subdued, and the last one is isolated by a rest.  It is another suspended and expectant  “augmented sixth” harmony.
1:47 [m. 99]--A section of quasi-fugal counterpoint begins in G minor.  The first violin plays the dance tune from 0:14 [m. 13] while the second violin and violas play syncopated lines that incorporate the trill figure.  The cello enters later, also playing the dance tune, the first violin moving to the syncopated lines.  The first viola briefly drops out, and is the next instrument to play the dance tune.
1:59 [m. 111]--The counterpoint breaks, and the instruments suddenly quiet down.  They begin to play the trill figures from the Rondo Theme, and suddenly swell in volume again.  Then the trill figures acquire a strong downward octave leap, and this form is passed between the violins and second viola over chromatic, syncopated lines in the first viola and cello.  The cello then plays the trill with the octave leap, passing its syncopated line to the first violin before taking it up again.
2:09 [m. 119]--  The first violin begins another statement of the dance tune in C minor, but it is interrupted by another sudden quieting with all instruments coming together on the trill figures.  Suddenly loud again, the violins leap up to descending syncopated lines, then again take up the trill figures.  The syncopated lines are then played in all instruments except the first violin, who again introduces the version of the trill with the octave leap.  The music moves toward D minor and A minor.
2:20 [m. 129]--In A minor, the trill figures from the Rondo Theme opening are passed forcefully from the second violin and first viola in unison to the cello.  The first violin and second viola play loud punctuations.  The trill figures then shift down a half-step, and the first violin joins on them.  The now-familiar syncopated lines once again appear.  The same pattern is repeated, this time in C-sharp minor.
2:32 [m. 141]--A slightly different version of the previous pattern begins in B-flat minor.  It is again in an intricate counterpoint.  It culminates in a forceful rising passage with heavy syncopation.  After two more bars of trills, the forceful rising passage reaches even higher with its syncopations and moves to the “dominant” harmony of B minor, signaling the return of the opening key and the re-transition out of the development section.
2:44 [m. 153]--The opening of the Rondo Theme itself sneaks into the viola parts over the “dominant” harmony of the opening key, B minor.  The first viola continues the thematic material, and the other instruments introduce long-short dotted rhythms.  The cello plays a syncopated repetition of the “dominant” note (which is F-sharp).  As the energy culminates, with the upper instruments suddenly moving together, the strong buildup is abruptly arrested, leaving the first violin and cello on bare F-sharps four octaves apart.
2:56 [m. 164]--Re-transition.  It is highly similar to the transition into the development from 1:18 [m. 73].  It is quiet and based on the trill figures from the opening theme.  The cello drops from F-sharp to D, the “dominant” of the home key of G major.  The first violin stays on F-sharp, which is a common note to the chords of B minor and G major.  The inner instruments surreptitiously enter on the trill figures.  Then, as the violas descend in harmonized trill figures, an actual trill is heard in the first violin.
3:03 [m. 170]--The trill emphasizes the cadence onto G major, and the dance tune from 0:14 [m. 13], rather than the Rondo Theme (which was worked into the re-transition material) serves as “Theme 1.”  The pattern is reversed from the exposition, however, as the version with the trill figures is played first, high in the first violin with smooth and syncopated accompaniment.  The first viola then plays the tune, the second viola dovetailing with the trill figures.  Against this, the first violin plays the “original” version, but with plucked strings.  The accompanying second violin and cello are also plucked.
3:12 [m. 178]--The “closing phrase” from 0:22 [m. 21] is now heard with subtle rescoring, most notably the persistent presence of the trill figures in the second violin and first viola.  This causes the meter to be less obscured than it was before at this point.  The “downward plunge” with sharp accents now also uses the trill figures.  It suddenly merges into the three-note descents heard just before the transitional passage, the intervening appearance of the opening material from 0:33 [m. 31] being omitted.
3:25 [m. 190]--Transitional passage.  It is similar to 0:40 [m. 38], but is now over a bass note of D, as the second theme will appear in the home key of G.  The murmuring triplets are now in the two violins, and the three-note upbeat fragments are played in octaves by the two violas, the cello alone taking the plucked supporting material.
3:36 [m. 199]--Analogous to 0:50 [m. 47].  Here, the two-note fragments are passed between the two violins, all three lower instruments playing the off--beat plucked chords.
3:40 [m. 204]--Theme 2.  Besides being in the home key, it is now played by the first viola instead of the first violin.  The first violin joins the smooth chord support.  As the first violin had done, the first viola also shoots upward.  The following triplets are also rescored.  The first descent is taken by the second viola, the ascent by the cello and first violin, and the last descent also by second viola (alone).  As in the exposition, the instruments come together on the suspended “augmented sixth” harmony.
3:52 [m. 213]--As at 1:05 [m. 61], there is a sudden outburst on the Theme 2 triplets.  They are now played by their original instrument, the first violin.  The first violin also takes a greater role in the syncopated lines than it had in the exposition.  The first plunging arpeggio leads to a cadence in G major, as expected, though the arpeggio itself is slightly varied.  The second is greatly altered, and seems to want to move away from G major, first possibly to C major and then to the ubiquitous B minor.  The trill figures of the Rondo Theme enter in the second viola overlapping with the arpeggio, which they had not done before.
4:05 [m. 225]--The overlapping trill figures emerge into a long transition using them.  They are passed from the violas to the violins, becoming ever quieter.  Finally, they come together, not in B minor, but in B major.  The Rondo Theme itself is then unexpectedly played in the B-major key, extremely lightly and quietly, with short, almost tremolo repeated notes as accompaniment.  The theme is expanded, with the trills and short notes in different instruments at different times, and then there is a rapid and dramatic crescendo.
4:20 [m. 239]--The first violin begins a staggered scale descent over the “dominant” harmony of B major.  Then the other four instruments join in the scale, all five playing in a massive unison.  While the descent is staggered, with turns back upward between groups of four, the following ascent is straight and continuous.  The ascending scale cuts off and is followed by two huge “dominant” chords that create a great expectation for a grand arrival and cadence in B major.  This is thwarted with the arrival of the coda.
4:28 [m. 248]--The melody note arrives on B as expected, but the harmony underneath it is G major, a “deceptive” cadence that finally and firmly establishes the quintet’s home key.  The coda begins with a new “gypsy” theme with stamping chords after the beat in the violas and a steady cello bass, the violins taking the heavily accented theme itself.  It is given twice, using five-bar phrases in a blatant gypsy homage.
4:36 [m. 257]--The upbeat of the dance tune originally heard at 0:14 [m. 13] comes immediately after the final downbeat of the new “gypsy” tune.  The dance tune is played more vigorously than ever, and after one four-bar phrase it leads to the trill figures of the Rondo Theme, which also complete a four-bar phrase.  In the dance tune, the violas and violins continue to alternate the two-note groups.  At the very end of the Rondo Theme phrase, the trill figures are passed to the violas so that the violins can “breathe.”
4:44 [m. 266]--The “gypsy” tune is heard again, beginning with a downward scale flourish on the first violin.  The violas now play continuous winding notes based on the trill figures, and the cello plays leaping octaves.  The second phrase is expanded to seven bars by repeating segments of the tune, the first violin reaching ever higher before cascading downward to four strong chords.  The Rondo Theme trill figures overlap the last of these chords in the second violin and first viola.
4:54 [m. 278]--The trill figures from the Rondo Theme have the last word, twice working steadily and feverishly upward and then back down.  Against them, an actual (faster) trill is heard in the first viola, then high in the first violin.  The first violin trill leads to a G-major chord that is sharply cut off.  There are then two final chords from all instruments, the second of which is held three beats.  The last of these is a downbeat to compensate for the upbeat with which the movement began.
5:12--END OF MOVEMENT [287 mm.]