Wolfgang Amadeus MozartSymphony no. 33 in B flat major KV 319
Mozart’s life and output are conventionally divided into three periods: firstly, childhood and adolescence up until 1773, including the ‘Grand Tour’ from Austria to Paris and London (1763–1766) and three important trips to Italy between 1769 and 1773; secondly, maturity and independence up until 1781, during which time Mozart was employed as a musician at the court of Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo in Salzburg, becoming increasingly frustrated, his most significant act of defiance being a trip taken via Mannheim to Paris in 1777–1779. In summer 1781, Mozart finally fell out with his employer and moved to Vienna to become a self-employed artist, beginning his third and last period in which he attained his full mastery.
Mozart’s Symphony no. 33 in B flat major, interestingly, spans the transition between the two latter periods: he wrote it with three movements in summer 1779 and later – after relocating to Vienna – added a Minuet to make the work a standard four-movement Classical symphony.
The Symphony is bright and care-free. Its sonata-form opening movement is at turns elegantly gentle and ceremoniously extrovert. The development section introduces a four-note motif borrowed from Mozart’s earlier Mass in F major (1774) but better known to posterity as the motif opening the finale of his ‘Jupiter’ Symphony (1788). The balanced and idyllic slow movement is followed by a brisk Minuet that betrays its later date by presenting a sharp contrast to the other three movements.
The positive energy in the Symphony rises to a new level in the finale, which is akin to Haydn in its freshness and humour. Propelled by triplet figures shifting between background and foreground, the music ranges from light and breezy to the cordial folkish final theme and the learned but no less elegant counterpoint in the development section.