Symphony No.25 in G minor, KV 183

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his first symphonies at the age of 7 or 8 and they still bore the influence of his predecessors. But very soon, the individuality of Mozart’s melodic approach and vital energy would become clear in the symphonic opuses that follow. Among his early symphonies, the Symphony No. 25, the first of only two symphonies in minor, is particularly notable. It was probably completed on October 5th, 1773, after his return to Salzburg from his long tour through Italy. There his opera seria Lucio Silla was successfully presented in Milan and the young 17-year-old composer was eager to become a free Italian operatic artist rather than a court musician in the chapel of Archbishop Colloredo of Salzburg. The symphony, too, carries that atmosphere of Sturm und Drang (‘Stormy rushes’) typical of the time, which also pervades Haydn’s Symphony No. 44 “Trauer”, written a year earlier. The broad melodic lines, energetic development and dynamic contrasts as well as the four-movement structure distinguish the work from the gallant style of the time and with its emotionally stirring imagery it seems to be a projection of the famous Symphony No.40 in G minor from the late triad of Mozart’s last symphonic masterpieces of 1788. Symphony No. 25 remains one of the composer’s most popular works, its opening motif quoted by Beethoven in his Piano Sonata No.1, and the celebrated film Amadeus by Milos Forman opens with the music of its first movement.


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