Mozart: Symphony Number 9, K.73, mvt. 4

The final movement of a classical symphony typically took used Rondo form. Like the other classical forms, Rondo form is a simple and elegant concept. On its most basic level it is very similar to the ritornello. A stable block of music is presented and continually returns throughout the course of the work. This "rondo theme" is alternated with freely composed material. Rondos are generally described formally as ABACADA...A. (... represents further iterations).
There is little in all actuality to say about this early symphony of Mozart's. Scholars are at odds even as to when and where it was composed. Generally, they have concluded that it was written sometime between 1769 and 1772 when Mozart was between 13 and 16 years old in either Salzburg, Milan or Bologna. At the time Mozart and his sister, Nannerl, were child prodigies touring Europe with their father Leopold and performing at the courts of Europe's nobility. This symphony is a simple one and is representative of much of Mozart's early music and indeed the prevaling galant style of the early Classical period. It also provides a very clear use of rondo form.

Young Mozart

Things to Note
When listening to this movement pay attnetion to the ways that young Mozart brings back the particularly attractive Rondo theme in new and surprising ways. Given his keen sense of proportion one often finds that everything seems right in Mozart's music. This "rightness" is often illusory. For instance, in this piece notice how Mozart plays with the listener's expectations for the return of the rondo theme in the minor-mode D section.

Listening Chart

Mozart: Symphony Number 9, K.73, mvt. 4 (1769?)

0:00 Theme (A): A bright exciting theme in the major mode and duple time..
0:11 B: A change of pace.
0:26 A: Return of Rondo theme
0:36 C: Another episode. This episode starts to move toward a minor mode.
0:47 A: Another return of the rondo theme
0:56 D: Another episode. This is an extended episode in the minor mode.
1:28 A: Our happy theme returns.
1:38 A cadential episode, known as a coda or tail.


All text © Todd Tarantino 2002-2012.
Not to be reprinted without permission.