Last week’s inaugural Symphony Saturday post featured one of Mozart’s youthful works. This week, we turn to what might be his greatest symphony, the Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K 551. Mozart died just three years after completing this work. Mozart’s death at the age of 35 is, perhaps, a canonical example of an artist dying young, but while the world was surely deprived many amazing works that went uncomposed after his passing, it surely cannot be said that Mozart did not fulfill his staggering potential. Indeed, the artistic heights he achieved in his last few years on Earth were so lofty that one wonders how he could possibly have continued growing had he lived.
The Symphony No. 41, sometimes subtitled the “Jupiter” symphony (a title not given the work by Mozart), is Mozart’s longest symphony, and technically, his most perfect. There isn’t a single note out of place in this entire work, and the whole thing builds so amazingly toward that great final movement, a wonderful classical fugue. Whenever I hear this symphony, I wonder, where could Mozart have possibly gone as an artist after this?
Here’s the symphony. Enjoy!