Conducted by Ton Koopman, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra performs Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 19 in E flat major, K. 132. This performance was recorded at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre on June 5, 1991. The Symphony No. 19 was composed in July 1772, when Mozart was only 16 years old.

Conducted by Ton Koopman, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra performs Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 19 in E flat major, K. 132. This performance was recorded at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre on June 5, 1991.

Mozart’s Symphony No. 19

Mozart’s Symphony No. 9 in C major, K. 73, reflects the youthful exuberance and developing compositional skill of a still-maturing Mozart. Composed when he was just 16 years old, around 1772, this symphony is part of a series written during a prolific period of his life, often called his “early symphonies.” These were primarily composed in Salzburg, where Mozart was exposed to various musical influences that helped shape his style.

Symphony No. 9 is characterized by its vivacity and classical elegance, embodying the style of the early Classical period with clear structures and melodic charm. Despite his young age, Mozart’s ability to handle orchestral forces with subtlety and effectiveness is evident. The symphony is scored for oboes, horns, and strings, a typical orchestration for the period, which Mozart uses to create a range of textures and dynamics.

The work itself, while not as complex or emotionally deep as his later symphonies, still showcases Mozart’s burgeoning mastery of form and orchestration. It includes several engaging themes and a treatment of the classical symphonic form with a degree of sophistication that is remarkable for a composer of his age. The symphony’s cheerful and energetic aura is consistent with the operatic and instrumental influences Mozart absorbed from the Italian and German composers of his time.

Symphony No. 9 is less frequently performed and recorded than many of Mozart’s later symphonies, but it remains a testament to his early promise and prodigious talent. It offers a glimpse into the early development of a composer who would go on to transform the symphonic genre with his innovative approaches and profound musical insights.

The symphony has the scoring of two oboes, four horns (two of them uniquely written in “E flat alto”), and strings.

Movements

There are four movements with an alternative slow movement. With the starting times in the video:

  1. 00:00 Allegro, E♭ major, 4/4
  2. 04:45 Andante, B♭ major, 3/8
  3. 10:20 Minuetto & trio, E♭ major-C minor, 3/4
  4. 18:19 Molto Allegro, E♭ major, 2/2

1. Allegro

The first movement of Mozart’s Symphony No. 9, marked “Allegro,” sets the stage with a lively and joyful exposition. The music is characterized by its clear and straightforward structure, typical of the early Classical period, adhering to the sonata form that was becoming the standard for symphonic movements. This form includes an exposition, a development, and a recapitulation, which Mozart employs with skill even at a young age.

The movement opens with a bright and energetic theme introduced by the strings, quickly taken up and embellished by the oboes and horns. This main theme is catchy and rhythmic, establishing a cheerful tone that pervades the movement. As the piece progresses into the development section, Mozart demonstrates his budding ability to manipulate and explore themes. Here, he plays with variations in dynamics and orchestration, weaving the initial motifs into new harmonic directions, which keeps the listener engaged.

The recapitulation brings back the main theme, now familiar and yet refreshed by its developmental journey. This return is executed with a precision that ensures coherence and balance, hallmark traits of Mozart’s later works. The movement concludes with a spirited coda that reaffirms the joyful energy of the opening, leaving a feeling of completeness and vivacity.

2. Andante

The second movement, “Andante,” shifts the mood to a more reflective and lyrical tone, providing a contrast to the vigorous first movement. This movement is often noted for its melodic beauty and the elegance of its slower pace, which allows for greater emotional expression. The orchestration remains light but effective, with the strings playing a more prominent role, supported by delicate interjections from the oboes and horns.

In this movement, Mozart explores a variety of expressive nuances within the Andante tempo, using the strings to carry the main melodic content. The music flows smoothly, with phrases that breathe and allow for a display of the dynamic range. The structure is simple, focusing on the development of a single, graceful theme that is introduced at the beginning and then elaborated upon through subtle variations.

The Andante is exemplary of Mozart’s ability to create depth from simplicity, drawing the listener into an intimate musical conversation. The movement ends softly, with a gentle resolution that leaves a lingering sense of calm and contemplation, showcasing Mozart’s early sensitivity to pacing and mood modulation.

3. Menuetto

The third movement, “Menuetto,” reintroduces a lively tempo with a dance-like rhythm that is characteristic of the minuet. This movement is structured as a typical minuet and trio, a popular form during the Classical period. The minuet section is marked by a robust and rhythmic melody, which is both charming and structured, providing a stark contrast to the lyrical second movement.

The trio section offers a moment of contrast within the movement, typically softer and often more lyrical. Here, Mozart provides a quieter, more reflective middle section, which showcases his skill in contrasting textures and themes within a single movement. The return of the minuet section after the trio brings back the energetic spirit of the initial section, maintaining the dance-like momentum.

This movement not only highlights Mozart’s compositional skill but also his understanding of form and balance within a symphony. The minuet and trio provide an excellent platform for demonstrating control over ensemble playing and the effective use of dynamics and instrumentation.

4. Molto allegro

The fourth and final movement, “Molto allegro,” rounds off the symphony with a burst of energy and brilliance. This movement is fast-paced and exuberant, featuring a rondo form that was quite popular at the time. The rondo theme is catchy and dynamic, introduced by the full orchestra and then taken up by various sections in a playful interchange.

Throughout the movement, Mozart employs rapid runs, lively rhythms, and crisp articulation, which demand precision and energy from the performers. The recurring rondo theme serves as a unifying element, with each return interspersed with contrasting episodes that explore different keys and thematic material.

The “Molto allegro” is a showcase of Mozart’s youthful vitality and his growing confidence in handling the orchestra. The movement concludes the symphony on a high note, with a spirited finale that underscores the overall exuberance and skillful craftsmanship of the work. This movement exemplifies Mozart’s ability to blend technical prowess with an unerring sense of musical joy.

Sources

M. Özgür Nevres

Published by M. Özgür Nevres

I am Özgür Nevres, a software engineer, a former road racing cyclist, and also an amateur musician. I opened andantemoderato.com to share my favorite music. I also take care of stray cats & dogs. This website's all income goes directly to our furry friends. Please consider supporting me on Patreon, so I can help more animals!

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