Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/35

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SYMPHONY.

the string parts to enrich and reinforce them, or else has long holding notes while the strings play characteristic figures. The following pas- sage from the last movement will serve to illustrate pretty clearly the stage of orchestral expression to which Haydn had at that time arrived :

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��In the course of the following ten years the progress was slow but steady. No doubt many other composers were writing symphonies besides Haydn and Mozart, and were, like them, im- proving that branch of art. Unfortunately the difficulty of fixing the dates of their productions is almost insuperable ; and so their greater re- presentatives come to be regarded, not only as giving an epitome of the history of the epoch, but as comprising it in themselves. Mozart's first specially notable symphony falls in 1778. This was the one which he wrote for Paris after his experiences at Mannheim ; and some of his Mannheim friends who happened to be in Paris with him assisted at the performance. It is in almost every respect a very great advance upon Haydn's E minor Symphony, just quoted. The treatment of the instruments is very much freer, and more individually characteristic. It marks an important step in the transition from the kind of symphony in which the music appears to have been conceived almost entirely for violins, with wind subordinate, except in special solo passages, to the kind in which the original conception in respect of subjects, episodes and development, embraced all the forces, including the wind instru- ments. The first eight bars of Mozart's sym- phony are sufficient to illustrate the nature of the artistic tendency. In the firm and dignified beginning of the principal subject, the strings, with flutes and bassoons, are all in unison for three bars, and a good body of wind instruments gives the full chord. Then the upper strings are left alone for a couple of bars in octaves, and are accompanied in their short closing phrase by an independent full chord of wind instruments, piano. This chord is repeated in the same form of rhythm as that which marks the first bars of the principal subject, and has therefore at once musical sense and relevancy, besides supplying

��the necessary full harmony. In the subsidiary subject by which the first section is carried on, the quick lively passages of the strings are ac- companied by short figures for flute and horns, with their own independent musical signifi- cance. In the second subject proper, which is derived from this subsidiary, an excellent balance of colour is obtained by pairs of wind instruments in octaves, answering with an in- dependent and very characteristic phrase of their own the group of strings which give out the first part of the subject. The same well-balanced method is observed throughout. In the work- ing out of this movement almost all the instru- ments have something special and relevant of their own to do, so that it is made to seem as if the conception were exactly apportioned to the forces which were meant to utter it. The same criticisms apply to all the rest of the symphony. The slow movement has beautiful independent figures and phrases for the wind instruments, so interwoven with the body of the movement that they supply necessary elements of colour and fulness of harmony, without ap- pearing either as definite solos or as meaningless holding notes. The fresh and merry last move- ment has much the same characteristics as the first in the matter of instrumental utterance, and in its working-out section all the forces have, if anything, even more independent work of their own to do, while still supplying their appropriate ingredients to the sum total of sound.

The succeeding ten years saw all the rest of the work Mozart was destined to do in the de- partment of symphony ; much of it showing in turn an advance on the Paris Symphony, inas- much as the principles there shown were worked out to greater fullness and perfection, while the musical spirit attained a more definite richness, and escaped further from the formalism which characterises the previous generation. Among these symphonies the most important are the following : a considerable one (in Eb) composed at Salzburg in 1780 ; the ' Haffner ' (in D), which was a modification of a serenade, and had ori- ginally more than the usual group of movements ; the ' Linz ' Symphony (in C ; ' No. 6 ') ; and the last four, the crown of the whole series. The first of these (in D major) was written for Prague in 1 786, and was received there with immense favour in January 1787. It appears to be far in advance of all its' predecessors in freedom and clearness of instrumentation, in the breadth and musical significance of the subjects, and in richness and balance of form. It is one of the few of Mozart's which open with an adagio, and that too of unusual proportions ; but it has no minuet and trio. This symphony was in its turn eclipsed by the three great ones in E flat, G minor, and C, which were composed at Vienna in June, July and August, 1788. These symphonies are almost the first in which certain qualities of musical expression and a certain method in their treatment stand prominent in the manner which was destined to become characteristic of the great works of the early part of the nineteenth

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