Mozart: Symphony No. 4 in G minor K. 550
Mozart’s last three symphonies were written in the summer of 1788 and are considered his most mature works, unprecedented in their length and complexity.
The G minor symphony was completed on 25th July and is undoubtedly the most personal and original of the three, although its essential character has remained a matter for debate ever since. Robert Schumann attributed to it a "Grecian lightness and grace", but this might be a serious understatement of it’s expressive force, for an undercurrent of tension is maintained throughout which would perhaps more usually be associated with Beethoven rather than Mozart.
The quiet opening - extremely rare in a classical symphony - could be taken as an example of Schumann’s "lightness and grace"; on the other hand it might be seen to have much greater significance, foeshadowing powerful emotions which surface later in the work, in the incredibly intense slow movement, and in the minuet, a remarkably gloomy affair in which the lightness of the trio appears like a ray of sunshine, as do the brief appearances of the second subject in the finale, which otherwise maintains a stormy outlook.
Recorded in the Henry Wood Hall, London on 21 & 22 June 1990
Recording Engineer: Philip Hobbs
Producer: John Boyden
English Classical Players
Leader: Alison Kelly
Conducted by Jonathan Brett