I’m just going to stick to Mozart’s symphonies. I really enjoyed no. 25, so let’s jump forward nine years in Mozart’s development.
I’m listening to Sir Neville Marriner leading the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
Symphony 35 in D Major K. 385 “Haffner”
1. Allegro con spirito
- I’m very strongly reminded of the “Paris” Symphony. Same key. A lot of the same techniques. In some ways, this movement strikes me as a more developed and mature version of that first movement of the Paris symphony. There are lots of Mannheim techniques, not a lot of development, not a lot of melodies, lots of bombast and energy.
- Here there’s more development than the “Paris”. Moments in minor really stand out.
- There’s a lot happening between the instrument groups. It’s fun following along in the sheet music.
- More dynamic contrast.
- Lots happening in bass instruments. They convey a lot of the mood of the various sections.
- Some imitative entrances.
- “Sigh” figures in woodwinds
- Pleasant melody line in first violins
- Repeated sixteenth note line in first violins is surprisingly fun.
- Very patient movement. Refined. Graceful.
- I keep thinking of “bel canto” music during this.
- Hello, big loud chord.
- Big arpeggios upward.
- Very slow harmonic rhythm.
- Sforzandi stuck in the middle of some of the trio second-violin lines give it some good contrast.
- Boisterous movement that helps connect the disparate movements of the symphony overall.
- Kind of sneaky opening.
- Reminds me of the Le nozze di Figaro overture.
- Oh yea, definitely.
- Why do I say that? There are a lot of similar energy building techniques. The strings introduce a melody, and then they play a fast line that builds steam, and when they hit the climax and start to modulate, the other instrument groups join in and hit accents on weak beats, after which is a – still fast – bit quieter section for the strings. I’d be surprised if anyone familiar with the overture would listen to this and not hear similarities.
- Still fun. Love the grace notes near the end. Humor. Mozart had it, and I’m grateful 200 and some odd years later.
I enjoyed this piece. As I said, I was reminded a lot of the “Paris” Symphony, but while the “Paris” symphony felt like it led nowhere particularly interesting, this felt like it was fun and full of variety. And although I’ve been kind of ragging on the “Paris” symphony, I also have a suspicion that some of the techniques used there and developed here were also ultimately developed into music like the final movement of Beethoven’s sixth symphony, which uses sustained chords and loudness and surprise harmonies at one point to create an exquisitely orgasmic experience. Listening to this and to parts of the “Paris” symphony, I can see that musical through-line. Ideas have to start somewhere.
Until next time.