1788 Mozart No. 41

1788 W. A. Mozart Symphony No. 41 in C major (‘Jupiter’)
Instrumentation Strings, flute, 2 oboes, bassoon, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani
Movements I: Allegro vivace (C) II: Andante cantabile (F) III: Menuetto (C) IV: Molto Allegro (C)
Overview Mozart’s last, longest and most famous symphony. The last movement could on its own have a whole website devoted to it. See a full score / Listen on YouTube
Essay Points
A) Overall form This is Mozart’s longest symphony and the most weighty movement is the last one. It is more typical in early symphonies for the first two movements to be weightier with the minuet and finale more light-hearted. This shift of emphasis onto the last movement foreshadows the developments of Beethoven and later Romantic composers.
C) 2nd mov. A typical mature Classical Andante second movement in sonata form with an expressive and lyrical tune at the opening that gets decorated with complex embellishments and counter melodies. Typically for Classical works, the second movement has reduced instrumentation, leaving out the trumpets and timpani. It is also typical for this movement to be in the more relaxed subdominant key of F major.

However, as in all four of Mozart’s final symphonies (and in fact Haydn 104) the lyrical beauty of the opening theme is interrupted by a suddenly loud passage in the minor:

Towards the end of the first section there is a circle of fifths passage that takes us briefly onto the subdominant (Bb) before finally cadencing in C (an idea that gets expanded later in the movement):

E) 4th / Finale A weighty finale that combines Mozart’s fresh melodic sense with complex imitative counterpoint. In the coda, Mozart manages to combine all of the five main themes of the last movement in a complex fugato texture.

Listen to the opening:


Bars 36-50 (Booklet: Extract 1):

Bars 64-69 (Booklet: Extract 2)

Bars 79-87 (Booklet: Extract 3)

Coda: (Booklet: Extract 5)

J) Texture Use of counterpoint in finale as noted above.
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