Conducted by Hartmut Haenchen, the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra performs Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551, also known as the Jupiter Symphony. It is the longest and last symphony that Mozart composed. The work is regarded as among the greatest symphonies in classical music by many critics.
It was performed at the Konzerthaus Berlin in 2005 as part of a Mozart evening. What is special about this particular interpretation is the reduced size of the ensemble, as a result of which the diverse characteristics of Mozart’s symphony vividly emerge.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in C major (Jupiter)
Mozart completed his Symphony No. 41 on 10 August 1788. is scored for flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns in C and F, trumpets in C, timpani in C and G, and strings.
There are four movements. With starting times in the video above:
- (00:00) Allegro vivace. The first movement is in sonata form. Its main theme begins with contrasting motifs: a threefold tutti outburst on the fundamental tone (respectively, by an ascending motion leading in a triplet from the dominant tone underneath to the fundamental one), followed by a more lyrical response. This exchange is heard twice and then followed by an extended series of fanfares. What follows is a transitional passage where the two contrasting motifs are expanded and developed. From there, the second theme group begins with a lyrical section in G major which ends suspended on a seventh chord and is followed by a stormy section in C minor. Following a full stop, the expositional coda begins which quotes Mozart’s insertion aria “Un bacio di mano”, K. 541, and then ends the exposition on a series of fanfares. The development begins with modulation from G major to E♭ major where the insertion-aria theme is then repeated and extensively developed. A false recapitulation then occurs where the movement’s opening theme returns but softly and in F major. The first theme group’s final flourishes then are extensively developed against a chromatically falling bass followed by a restatement of the end of the insertion aria then leading to C major for the recapitulation. With the exception of the usual key transpositions and some expansion of the minor key sections, the recapitulation proceeds in a regular fashion.
- (11:15) Andante cantabile. This movement also in sonata form, is a sarabande of the French type in F major (the subdominant key of C major) similar to those found in the keyboard suites of Johann Sebastian Bach.
- (19:13) Menuetto. Allegretto-Trio. The third movement, a menuetto marked “allegretto” is similar to a Ländler, a popular Austrian folk dance form. Midway through the movement, there is a chromatic progression in which sparse imitative textures are presented by the woodwinds (bars 43-51) before the full orchestra returns. In the trio section of the movement, the four-note figure that will form the main theme of the last movement appears prominently (bars 68-71), but on the seventh degree of the scale rather than the first, and in a minor key rather than a major, giving it a very different character.
- (22:53) Finale. Molto allegro. The finale of Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 has the five-voice fugato (representing the five major themes) at the end, which gives a distinctive characteristic of this symphony. In an article about the Jupiter Symphony, Sir George Grove (the English engineer and writer on music, 13 August 1820 – 28 May 1900) wrote that “it is for the finale that Mozart has reserved all the resources of his science, and all the power, which no one seems to have possessed to the same degree with himself, of concealing that science and making it the vehicle for music as pleasing as it is learned. Nowhere has he achieved more.” Of the piece as a whole, he wrote that “It is the greatest orchestral work of the world which preceded the French Revolution.”
Origin of the Jupiter nickname
According to Franz Mozart (26 July 1791 – 29 July 1844), Wolfgang’s younger son (also known as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jr.), the symphony was given the name Jupiter by Johann Peter Salomon, who had settled in London in around 1781. The name has also been attributed to Johann Baptist Cramer (24 February 1771 – 16 April 1858), an English music publisher. Reportedly, from the first chords, Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 reminded Cramer of Jupiter and his thunderbolts.
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra
The Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra (German: Kammerorchester Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach) was a German chamber orchestra, founded in 1969 in Berlin, dedicated to the music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (German Classical period musician and composer, 8 March 1714 – 14 December 1788) and his contemporaries.
The orchestra was performing Under the artistic direction of the German conductor Hartmut Haenchen, who conducted operas in the leading opera houses of the world.
In 2014, the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra looked back on 45 years of musical and contemporary history to celebrate a 34-year collaboration with Hartmut Haenchen. On 1 May 2014, the orchestra was disbanded and ceased its concert activity.
- Symphony No. 41 (Mozart) on Wikipedia
- Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra on Wikipedia
- Hartmut Haenchen on Wikipedia
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