Mozart: Symphony no 41 in C K551 Jupiter

For the festivities in Salzburg of mayor Sigmund Haffner’s elevation to the nobility, Mozart received a request from his father Leopold for a new symphony. This was in July 1782 and Mozart was already overloaded with work. The serenade resulting from this request (and written mostly at night) was the foundation of his Symphony No. 35 in D. He discarded a march and a minuet, and augmented the orchestra with flutes and clarinets.

I. Allegro con spirito

The grand opening theme with its dramatic octave leaps dominates this movement. Mozart uses Haydn’s practice – he adapts his principal theme instead of introducing a second. The development section is both rich and bold. To his father Mozart wrote “this allegro must be played with great fire”.

II. Andante

Here Mozart returns to a traditional serenade style. The slow movement has a seductive melodic line that is introduced by the first violins and decorated by all sorts of trills, turns, and apoggiaturas. The 2nd theme is played by the second violins whilst the firsts whisper a repeated note above.

III. Menuetto

The lively melodic leaps in this minuet are reminiscent of the first movement. By contrast the central trio section is graceful, with its lilting phrases from the woodwind.

IV. Finale

This presto recalls Osmin’s comic aria “O wie will ich triumphieren” (Ha! What triumph will be mine now) from “Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail” His opera was performed two weeks before he wrote this finale. The presto is so fluent, it is thought he completed it in one sitting. In this energetic movement there is a clever play of dynamics at each return of the rondo tune. Mozart wanted the movement played as fast as possible. In March 1773 he was extremely pleased with the tremendous reception the Symphony received in Vienna. But it was a strange concert: the first three movements were played – then eight other works – eventually closing with the FINALE!!