“Jupiter” Symphony

By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Composed in 1788

In an astonishing burst of energy, Mozart composed his last 3 symphonies (Nos. 39, 40 and 41) in 1788 in a space of just six weeks.

The last of these three, the “Jupiter,” is grand and majestic in style. Written in C Major, it is complex in structure and form, as well as in its exploration of keys and harmonies. An imposing 5-note initial theme opens the work, setting the stage for rich musical development, alternately elegant and impassioned.

The poignant Andante cantabile opens with a lyrical rising theme by the muted violins. It is taken up in turn by the other instruments and interspersed against running scale-like passages.

After a refined Menuetto and Trio, the magnificent last movement opens with a transparent four-note theme in the violins. From this seemingly simple beginning, other themes are introduced, all of which in turn Mozart weaves into a complex tapestry of musical counterpoint. The total effect is at once grand, elegant, extraordinarily complex, and musically fulfilling.