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Symphony in E Flat Major
(K 543)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

1. Adagio. Allegretto.

2. Andante.

3. Minuet and Trio. Allegretto.

4. Finale. Allegro.

The Symphony in E flat is the first of the three great works of its class composed by Mozart in the year 1788. It was written at a time when he was in sore financial straits, and yet breathes the very spirit of joy and gaiety throughout, except in the Andante movement.

The symphony opens with a short Adagio built up on solid chords by the whole orchestra, with intervening scale passages in the first violins, and subsequently in the second violins and basses, leading up to the Allegro, which is introduced by the following restful and melodious theme --

[Music excerpt]

first announced in the violins, and on the repeat given over to the basses. The second theme is cantible melody of equal beauty and grace, divided between the violins and clarinets. The development of the movement is short, and the second theme is mainly used in association with a phrase at first employed as an accompaniment.

The Andante movement is principally based upon the following theme:

[Music excerpt]

given out by the strings, which leads up to a second theme of more serious character. The second part begins with a passionate, almost impetious theme, at the close of which there is a genuine harmonic display in which the bassoons play very a characteristic part.

The Minuet opens thus cheerfully:

[Music excerpt]

The Trio sung by the first clarinet, the second playing an arpeggio acompaniment, is one of those lovely passages, lovely in its very simplicity, which are so characteristic of Mozart.

In the Finale the composer gives free rein to his humor and fancy, as well as to his skill in development. It opens with the following theme:

[Music excerpt]

which is fairly fascinating by its supportive and tantalizing mood. The second theme is so similar in character as to amount to little more than an emphasis of the first, and seems to have been introduced to give more room for the merry thoughts of the composer, which are expressed in bewildering variety of development. The themes themselves count for little as compared with the fanciful, elaborate struture of which they are the foundations. The Finale in fact is very carnival of gaiety and sunshine.

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See also:
Middle Ages Music
Renaissance Music
Baroque Era Music
Classical Era Music
Romantic Era Music
Nationalist Era Music
Turn of Century Music

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