Mozart Symphony no. 11

performed by the ASMF/Marriner

Believed to date from 1770, and possibly written in Milan or Bologna, this symphony is also suspected by some to have been written by either the father Leopold Mozart or by Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf (who is actually a real person with that name, who has a huge catalogue of compositions). Its status on Wikipedia is listed as uncertain, but some music historical claims confidently that it is Mozart the son who wrote this work.

That’s about all the info Wikipedia has on it. Another expert claims there is “little special” about this piece, but I disagree.

Well, partially. It may not be special or unique, but it has a certain charm. I actually loved listening to this little symphony, but it could be because after five or six consecutive listenings to this week’s other featured piece, even the most simple Classical-era writing sounds absolutely glorious. It’s drastically different from the Mahler, and also the diametric opposite of this week’s other post, so I quite enjoyed the simplicity. It feels both childish and mature. The melodies are very basic, but what he does with them is inventive and enjoyable.

The first movement has a great first theme (especially the second half where the strings sound like they’re singing out). It’s very cheery and almost enlivening.

The second movement is sweet and pleasant. It’s touching, even.

The third begins very simply with arpeggios, but what he does with the continuo in the background is simply gorgeous. Very enjoyable, and it’s simplicity without being boring. The third movement ends almost abruptly in a decrescendo and just fades away, with no cadence or coda or anything. It’s just done.

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