Minuet in C major, K. 601

The minuet was an ancient French court dance with a modest impetus in 3/4 time. It was danced until the 18th century and throughout retained its aristocratic character. A stylised version of the minuet came to be found in the first half of the century (for example in Bach's suites). After 1750 it became more widespread. The third movement of classical symphonies were virtually always minuets but this dance music became an almost indispensable part of many other cyclical works as well (for example sonatas and string quartets). At this time, the trio form also solidified. Mozart's C major minuet is not a stylised dance movement but truly something to be danced to. Its musical material is simpler and its phrasal structure more regular than the refined minuets we find in his other abstract works. And yet given these practical restrictions, Mozart perfectly exploits the possibilities hidden in the material and composed wittily simple and attractive music. The hurdy-gurdy is also employed in the trio, but this time it does not play the C-G organ point: Mozart hands this to the oboe, bassoon, trumpets and cello and double bass.