from Symphony No. 40 in G minor, KV550

by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756 in Salzburg, Austria and died in 1791 in Vienna, Austria. At that time Austria was part of the Holy Roman Empire.

Mozart wrote Symphony No. 40 in G minor, KV550 in 1788, three years before his death.  Many researchers have tried to establish if Mozart was present at the first performance of Symphony No. 40. It now appears likely that the premiere took place in a private residence and the symphony may have been played very badly. Mozart is thought to have been present, but perhaps it was an evening he preferred to forget.

Mozart rarely composed symphonies in a minor key. It is possible that Symphony No. 40 was a brief foray into the Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) movement, a school of thought influencing writers and artists at that time.  Whatever the reason for Mozart’s sudden detour to write a work filled with angst and tension, he certainly had no trouble returning to his usual, happier style of writing and composed his last symphony, nicknamed the ‘Jupiter’, shortly after.

Menuetto and Trio (Allegretto) is the third of four movements that make up Symphony No. 40 in G minor. The Menuetto is in standard 3/4 time, which means three main beats in a bar. The main theme is unusual as it features a cross rhythm, a minim (two beats) followed by another two beats (a crotchet tied across the bar line to another crotchet), making this Menuetto quite difficult to dance to.

Step 1. Watch the video to learn about Chin Rests & Shoulder Rests

Step 2. Listen to the TSO recording of Mozart 40 Menuetto & Trio

Step 3. Answer 10 questions

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