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Symphony in G Minor
(K 550)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

1. Allegro molto.

2. Andante.

3. Minuet and Trio. Allegro.

4. Finale. Allegro assai.

In Mozart's autograph catalogue the Symphony in G minor is set down as written July 25, 1788, which refers probably to the day of completion. Of the sixteen symphonies written between 1773 and 1788 this is the only one in the minor key, and from this fact many authorities have attributed to it an expression of sorrow. It was always been a great favorite with composers. Schubert said: "You can hear the angels singing in it." Mendelssohn held it in high esteem; and there is a report that Beethoven scored it over for orchestra from a piano edition, though the score has never been found.

Without the Adagio, which was customary at that time, the first movement begins at once with the principal theme --

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followed by a new theme which is afterward employed in the most elaborate fashion. Then follows an exquisite melody --

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answered basses by

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In the second part the principal theme is broken up into bits, shaken about in true kaleidoscopic fashion, and transparent at every turn, thus increasing its beauty.

The Andante is not based on a long cantilena, like most of his Adagios, but betrays rather a restless spirit by the short groups which are thrown from the instruments. The germ of the melody appears at the opening in the bass --

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The Minuet, Allegro, opens with:

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The stubborn syncopation is enforced at the beginning of the second part in the following manner --

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followed by the cheery humor of the Trio.

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The Finale, Allegro assai, is a work of such a marvelous skill that, while the musical student can alone appreciate the genius of the master by close study of the score, yet the listener never is oppressed by its intricacies. All is clear, beautiful, and full of life and energy from the opening phrase,

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which embodies the character of the whole movement, to the last note. Mozart reared this monument of orchestral writing with the modest means of what would nowadays be called a small orchestra, consisting, besides the string quartet, of two horns, a flute, two clarinets, two oboes, and two bassoons.

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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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