Quartet in C is in four movements with a total duration of about 25 minutes. The opening Allegro is Dvorák-ish in its lyricism, though there is a darker, more brooding atmosphere towards the close. It is tempting to detect a hint of folk-song in the theme of the Andantino, played by the viola, but that may be stretching hindsight too far. The movement has a wistful melancholy that carries over into the following Intermezzo, a song-like episode containing some of the most virtuosic writing in the work.
The last movement is a theme and six variations with a fugal ending. The theme is ballad-like with a suggestion of 18th century elegance. Modality creeps into the second Adagio variation and there is rhythmic exhilaration in the succeeding Presto. What can be admired in this attractive quartet is its conciseness.
This String Quartet was his first major composition of any kind.
Titles: Allegro * Andantino * Intermezzo * Variazione con finale fugato