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Christopher Nicklin

2/2/13

Mozart’s twenty-ninth symphony takes a lot from his contemporaries and

emulates them while keeping his own voice within the music. The first thing to be noted

within this movement is the speed of the movement, which is allegro moderato. As was

customary at the time movements usually when fast-slow-fast like the church sonatas and

four movement pieces when fast, slow, dance, and fast again. His opening is no different.

He starts of with a moderately fast tempo. The second thing to be noted is that the strings

did most of the work and there was very few other instruments in symphonies, in this

case oboe and horns. This also mirrored Johann Stamitz’s instrumentation, a composer

Mozart frequently emulated. As was typical of the time horns could not play

chromatically yet so they did not have a big role and other woodwinds where not

standardized yet so it was hard to make them sound uniform.

There were many other things that Mozart tended to take from his contemporaries

and as I noted earlier before Johann Stamitz was the most notable. One of the biggest

things is the use of dynamics. As the transition from theme one to theme two enters there

is a constant rising tension. There is a crescendo just because of the instrumentation is

getting bigger. As the transition ends the dynamics go all the way back to a piano or a

messo-piano sound. Mozart was characterizing Stamitz with this. As the second theme

comes in it is in the relative dominant and it is strikingly different from the first theme in

character. It is more lyrical by nature. People like Stamitz pioneered this type of idea of

using two contrasting themes. Mozart took this idea directly from him. This idea of using

contrasting themes became one of the main ideas of the people of the classical era of the
time, which is to showcase many different emotions or moods within the sonata form.

The reason this was so significant is because in the baroque era one emotion was

typically featured within a piece.

One thing to really note about this Mozart symphony is his synthesis of

styles by other people within his sonatas. Mozart frequently emulates people like J.C

Bach. For example he used a lot of the galant style especially in this piece, this was a trait

very typical of J.C. Bach. He also took from Johann Schobert some of the ideas of

tremolo for strings. Everywhere he went he took something from that place and

integrated it into the form of his pieces. His symphonies followed the design described by

Henrich Koch and people like Scarlatti. For example the exposition is repeated and goes

from tonic to dominant within the exposition. Then in the development it is allowed to go

anywhere but tonic. As was typical with other composers of the time Mozart goes to

closely related keys like the sub-dominant key or the relative minor, which he goes to

both in this movement. Then in the recapitulation he stays in the tonic key the entire time.

Finally he ends with a coda, that was optional at the time.

Like his contemporaries he follows all the rules of the time. The thing that

separates him from the rest is the fact that he is able to synthesize all these different styles

in order to make a memorable composition.