Mozart Symphony 41 Analysis

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Even though Mozart himself, who was only 32 years old at the time and had every reason to expect to live to see the dawn of the 19th century, certainly did not expect this to be the last symphony he ever composed, Symphony No. 41 could not have been a more perfect and appropriate summation and culmination of Mozart’s genius. This is an opinion shared by many scholars. One important reason for this argument is Mozart’s juxtaposition and integration of Learned and Galant style in the finale of Symphony No. 41, which is a movement in allegro sonata form, a characteristic typically associated with the Galant style, that also contains fugues, canons, and imitations, which are characteristics of learned style. The fugal finale, giving this piece …show more content…
The beginning motive, seen in too many other pieces, embodies both styles. The first four measures, while clearly galant, contains a theme that is undoubtedly very fugal. One important part of the learned nature of this theme is its sacred qualities. Composers who used this “Fux” theme, aside from Mozart’s contemporaries such as both Haydns, also include sacred music composers such as Handel, Bach, and even earlier figures like Josquin and Palestrina. The C-D-F-E theme can be seen verbatim in Josquin’s Missa Pange Lingua. In Kyrie, C-D-F-E accompanies “Christe eleison” as it is repeated as a fugue in each of the four voices. In Mozart’s time, this theme is probably best known as the beginning of the hymn Lucis creator. The theme can date back as early as a Gregorian chant melody that can be found in Liber Usualis. Mozart clearly had this in mind when he composed this movement as the theme is in whole notes, giving it a very solemn and sacred quality. The slow rhythm also makes the motive maneuverable and able to function as the foundation of the movement as a cantus with rooms for development. This movement, unlike most of other fugal movements in its time, does not begin with a fugue. Rather, the start of the movement could not have been more galant. The first violin’s “Fux” theme in whole note rhythm is accompanied by an alberti bass in the second violin, which is a hallmark of the galant style. This opening is thus both galant and

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