Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
is one of the greatest classical composers of all time, yet there are many people unfamiliar with his works. This list of quintessential music by Mozart is sure to help the beginner expand their musical horizon.
- Symphony No. 25 in G minor, K. 183
Mozart's Symphony No. 25 is one of my favorite Mozart symphonies. It's one of only two minor symphonies composed by Mozart, adding to its uniqueness. The four movement symphony was most likely inspired by Haydn's Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) style of music at the time the symphony was composed.
- Symphony No. 31 "Paris" in D Major, K. 300
Symphony No. 31 is one of three works composed by Mozart during his short stay in Paris, France. Though his stay in Paris proved unsuccessful on the job front, his Symphony No. 31 was well received. Symphony No. 31 is a great example of Mozart's keen ability to adapt his music to the likes and dislikes of his hosts. Its Parisian qualities are unlike Mozart's other works.
- Symphony No. 35 "Haffner" in D Major, K. 385
Apart from its delightful score, the interesting history behind Mozart's "Haffner" symphony adds to its appeal. At the request of his father, Mozart composed the symphony and mailed the completed score to his father. Several months later, Mozart had his father send the score back to him as to perform it. After receiving the symphony, he wrote a letter to his father telling him he forgot how good it was.
- Symphony No. 36 "Linz" in C Major, K. 425
True to Mozart's genius, his "Linz" Symphony was composed, copied, rehearsed, and performed in only four days! Though the work was composed at break-neck speeds, you couldn't tell by listening to the music. In fact, its the first time Mozart opens a symphony with a slow introduction.
- Symphony No. 38 "Prague" in D Major, K. 504
Because Mozart's music was most widely accepted and appreciated in Prague, he wrote this symphony for them, as well as the opera Don Giovanni. Mozart opens the "Prague" Symphony with a slow introduction too, but leaves out the regular third movement minuet. Symphony No. 38 is often overshadowed by the remaining three symphonies, though it is just as profound and provocative.
- Symphony No. 39 in E flat Major, K. 543
Symphony No. 39 begins what many refer to as the "final trilogy" - the last three symphonies composed by Mozart during the summer of 1788, before his death. Many view these symphonies as the pinnacle of Mozart's genius, and after listening to them it's easy to understand why. Symphony No. 39 is the last symphony Mozart begins with a slow introduction.
- Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550
Mozart's Symphony No. 40 is the second, and the last, symphony Mozart composed in a minor key (both of which are in G minor). Its depth and emotional brevity are borderline romantic without breaking classical form!
- Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter" in C Majro, K. 551
Many believe this to be Mozart's greatest symphony - a culmination of Mozart's intelligence, musical genius, and virtuosity (the Zen of classical symphonies). Listening to it under such pretexts gives the music almost spiritual qualities. Its almost overwhelming that music with this much beauty and magnitude came from one man in such a short amount of time.
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K.525
Eine Kleine Nachtumsik
(A Little Night Music) is arguably one a Mozart's most balanced pieces of music. Its reasons for composition are unknown, though there may be no reasons at all. What we do know is that it is a great piece of music that almost everyone exposed to television and radio has heard.
Mozart's Requiem in D Minor, K. 626
Though not entirely the work of Mozart, the Requiem Mass was composed while Mozart was literally on his death bed. Of the Requiem's twelve movements, Mozart was able to compose the first movement, the Kyrie, in its entirety. As for the remaining eleven movements, Mozart wrote the vocal parts and figured bass line for only eight of them. The last three movements (Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei) and a large portion of the Lacrymosa were composed by Franz Süssmayr.
Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K.622
Mozart composed music for wealthy patrons, royalty, and even common friends. Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major was composed for his good friend (and clarinet virtuoso) Anton Stadler. Though the instrument was somewhat new during Mozart's time, many are surprised he didn't write more for the instrument he highly regarded, especially towards the end of his life. Mozart wrote many concertos, but this was the only one for clarinet.
Ave verum corpus, K.618
With only forty-six bars of music, this relatively short piece of music for choir and orchestra contains a great deal of sophistication and simplicity. Mozart transformed a simple four-line communion hymn into a serene, self-reflecting work of art.
Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466
For this dark piano concerto in D minor, Mozart scored a part for the timpani drum - a somewhat unusual instrumentation. During Beethoven's early career, Beethoven performed the concerto regularly as it was a part of his repertoire. Today, it's Beethoven's cadenzas
we hear, not Mozart's.
No Mozart collection is complete without works from his most famous operas. The music of each opera is as diverse as their plots, yet unmistakably Mozart!
- Die Entführung aus dem Serail, K. 384
- Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492
- Don Giovanni, K. 527
- Così fan tutte, K. 588
- Die Zauberflöte, K. 620