Mozart Symphony No. 40 in G minor, KV. 550.wmv


1 Molto allegro Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his Symphony No. 40 in G minor, KV. 550, in 1788. It is sometimes referred to as the "Great G minor symphony," to distinguish it from the "Little G minor symphony," No. 25. The two are the only minor key symphonies Mozart wrote The 40th Symphony was completed on 25 July 1788. The composition occupied an exceptionally productive period of just a few weeks in 1788, during which time he also completed the 39th and 41st symphonies (26 June and 10 August, respectively).[2] [edit] The question of the Symphony's premiere There is no completely solid documentary evidence that the premiere of the 40th Symphony took place in Mozart's lifetime. However, as Zaslaw (1983) points out, the circumstantial evidence that it was performed is very strong. On several occasions between the composition of the symphony and the composer's death, symphony concerts were given featuring Mozart's music, including concerts in which the program has survived, including a symphony, unidentified by date or key. These include:[3] Dresden, 14 April 1789, during Mozart's Berlin journey Leipzig, 12 May 1789, on the same trip Frankfurt, 15 October 1790 Copies survive of a poster for a concert given by the Tonkünstlersocietät (Society of Musicians) April 17, 1791 in the Burgtheater in Vienna, conducted by Mozart's colleague Antonio Salieri. The first item on the program was billed as "A Grand Symphony composed by Herr Mozart".[4] Most important is the fact that Mozart revised his symphony (the manuscripts of both versions still exist).[5] As Zaslaw says, this "demonstrates that [the symphony] was performed, for Mozart would hardly have gone to the trouble of adding the clarinets and rewriting the flutes and oboes to accommodate them, had he not had a specific performance in view."[6] The orchestra for the 1791 Vienna concert included the clarinetist brothers Anton and Johann Stadler; which, as Zaslaw points out, limits the possibilities to just the 39th and 40th symphonies.[6] Zaslaw adds: "The version without clarinets must also have been performed, for the reorchestrated version of two passages in the slow movement, which exists in Mozart's hand, must have resulted from his having heard the work and discovered an aspect needing improvement."[7] Concerning the concerts for which the Symphony was originally (1788) intended, Otto Erich Deutsch suggests that Mozart was preparing to hold a series of three "Concerts in the Casino", in a new casino in the Spiegelgasse owned by Philipp Otto. Mozart even sent a pair of tickets for this series to his friend Michael Puchberg. But it seems impossible to determine whether the concert series was held, or was cancelled for lack of interest.[2] Zaslaw suggests that only the first of the three concerts was actually held. [edit] The music The symphony is scored (in its revised version) for flute, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, and strings. Notably missing are trumpets and timpani. The work is in four movements, in the usual arrangement (fast movement, slow movement, minuet, fast movement) for a classical-style symphony: Molto allegro, 2/2 Andante, 6/8 Menuetto Trio, 3/4 Allegro assai, 2/2 Every movement but the third is in sonata form; the minuet and trio are in the usual ternary form. The first movement begins darkly, not with its first theme but with accompaniment, played by the lower strings with divided violas. The technique of beginning a work with an accompaniment figure was later used by Mozart in his final piano concerto (KV. 595) and later became a favorite of the Romantics (examples include the openings of Mendelssohns Violin Concerto and Sergei Rachmaninoffs Third Piano Concerto

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