Tune of the Day: Symphony No. 40
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his Symphony No. 40 in G minor, KV. 550, in 1788. It is sometimes referred to as the “Great G minor symphony”, to distinguish it from the “Little G minor symphony”, No. 25. Quite remarkably, the two are the only minor-key symphonies Mozart wrote.
The symphony is cast in the usual four movements; the opening “Molto allegro” immediately announces something unusual by starting darkly, not with its first theme but with accompaniment. The uneasy passion of the main theme leads to conclusions that seem to protest rather than find any consolation. The movement's dominant feeling is urgency: upbeat after upbeat after upbeat occurs.
Symphony No. 40 has elicited varying interpretations. Robert Schumann regarded it as possessing “Grecian lightness and grace”. Almost certainly, however, the most common perception today is that the symphony is tragic in tone and intensely emotional. Although interpretations differ, the symphony is unquestionably one of Mozart's most greatly admired works, and it is frequently performed and recorded.