Conducted by Johannes Klumpp, the Folkwang Kammerorchester Essen (a chamber orchestra historically formed mostly by students of the Folkwang University in Essen, Germany) performs Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 1 in E-flat major, K. 16. The symphony was written in 1764 when Mozart was only eight years old. This performance was recorded on March 15, 2014.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 1
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 1 in E flat major, K. 16, was composed in 1764 when the composer was only eight years old. Despite his young age, this symphony already showed signs of the brilliance that would characterize Mozart’s later works.
Mozart composed this symphony during his family’s Grand Tour of Europe, specifically while they were in London. At this time, young Wolfgang and his sister, Nannerl, were being paraded around Europe by their father, Leopold, as child prodigies. During their stay in London, they got to know several important musicians and composers, and Mozart’s exposure to their works, particularly symphonies by Johann Christian Bach and Carl Friedrich Abel, influenced his own compositions.
The Symphony No. 1 is structured in three movements:
- Molto allegro: A lively and spirited movement demonstrating Mozart’s innate understanding of form and balance.
- Andante: A slower, more lyrical movement. Here, Mozart offers a gentle and somewhat introspective melody. In the second movement, the eight-year-old Mozart uses the four-note motif that appears in the finale of his Jupiter symphony, No. 41.
- Presto: This final movement is brisk and full of youthful energy, a fitting close to the symphony.
- Youthful Genius: Even though the symphony lacks the depth and complexity of Mozart’s later works, it is still astonishing when one considers it was written by an eight-year-old. It shows mastery over orchestration and form that most adults would envy.
- Influences: The influence of the Mannheim school and Johann Christian Bach can be seen in this work. While it’s rooted in the classical traditions of the time, Mozart’s unique voice is already discernible.
- Orchestration: The symphony is scored for 2 oboes, 2 horns, and strings.
Despite being a work of his youth, Symphony No. 1 is an important testament to Mozart’s prodigious talent and a sign of the great works that would come in his later years. If you listen to it with the knowledge that it was composed by an eight-year-old, the experience is truly awe-inspiring.
Folkwang Kammerorchester Essen
The Folkwang Kammerorchester Essen is a chamber orchestra historically formed mostly by students of the Folkwang University in Essen, Germany, and other Musikhochschulen in North Rhine-Westphalia, to prepare them for a future position in an orchestra; however, it currently employs a core of permanent members from all over Germany and the world.
Members are auditioned and trialed as in a professional orchestra, and, if successful, are offered a permanent contract up to the age of 35. It was founded in 1958 by the director of the Folkwangschule Heinz Dressel. More than 500 musicians were since employed in opera- and symphony orchestras in Germany and abroad.
- Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 [Pierre-Laurent Aimard] - September 19, 2023
- Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata (Full) [Eric Zivian, fortepiano] - September 19, 2023
- Pavarotti sings Non Ti Scordar di Me at the Madison Square Garden, New York  - September 17, 2023