Symphony No 41 in C Major, K. 551, “Jupiter”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The history of Mozart’s magnificent Symphony No 41 in C Major, K. 551, “Jupiter” is shaded with mystery and speculation. Some believe that Mozart composed his final symphony, “Jupiter” during the summer of 1778, along with Symphonies No. 39 in Eb and 40 in G Minor. Others debate that this scenario has no proof and is highly unlikely. A major symphonic work during this time was typically commissioned by royalty or a wealthy patron. Some people believe that it would not have been possible for Mozart to compose not only one, but three major symphonies, in such a short time period. It is also known that Mozart was facing serious health and financial issues during this time frame. This further supports those who think that perhaps his 41st Symphony was composed much earlier and not completed until the summer of 1778. Even the origin of the nickname “Jupiter” is questioned. What is certain is that Mozart did not name this symphony “Jupiter.” Some claim that Haydn’s friend and impresario Johann Peter Salomon coined the nickname. Others say that it was Mozart’s son Xavier or German pianist Johann Baptist Cramer who was responsible.
Allegro vivace, the first movement of the Jupiter, is in sonata allegro form. After the tutti introduction of the main theme, with a lyrical, tentative melodic response, Mozart expanded and developed these musical ideas. Toward the end of the first movement, Mozart borrowed a melody from his aria “Un bacio di namo” K. 451 that he contributed for Pasquale Anfossi’s opera Le gelosie fortunate. This little aria melody twists and turns before the recapitulation of the beginning, majestic fanfare re-appears to complete the movement.
This arrangement is scored for Flutes 1-4, Alto Flute, Bass Flute, with optional Contrabass Flute. You will notice quite a few optional divisi sections in the Concert Flute parts, as well as the Alto Flute parts. It is possible to perform this arrangement with only one player per part, but the harmonic support for the Flute 3 melodic content will be missing. You will need two flutists on Flute 3 to best perform this arrangement. It is also nice if you have two players to cover the optional divisi on the Flute 4 and Alto Flute parts. Dedicated to the 2012 New England Conservatory Summer Metropolitan Flute Festival Orchestra, the Allegro vivace from Mozart’s 41st Symphony, “Jupiter” has a performance time of approximately 8 minutes without the optional repeat.