Mozart’s Symphony No. 27 in G Major: Salzburg Sunshine

Symphony No. 27 in G Major, K. 199 is sunny, youthful music of the 17-year-old Mozart.

Completed in April of 1773, it is among a group of four symphonies Mozart wrote after returning home to Salzburg following his second trip to Italy. (His opera, Lucio Silla, was being performed in Milan). Two months later, Mozart and his father would set out for the imperial capital of Vienna.

Scored for two flutes, two horns, and strings, with the omission of oboes and trumpets, Symphony No. 27 is charming, light, and intimate. Unfolding in three movements, without a minuet-trio, it returns to an older symphonic format which grew out of the Italian overture.

The first movement (Allegro) begins with a vigorous musical “call to order” in the form of four vibrant G major chords. The joyfully dancing first theme, introduced by the violins and flutes, is propelled forward by an exhilarating rhythmic motor in the low strings. Rather than a well-defined development section, as we hear in later symphonies, the movement’s middle section unfolds as a dramatic transition.

The second movement (Andantino grazioso) begins as a gentle courtly dance. Muted violins, soon brightened by the flutes, are accompanied by pizzicato. The cheerful melody is interrupted by sudden shadows with a mysterious recurring deceptive cadence.

The final movement (Presto) is based on a four-note fragment (G, C, F-sharp, G) from the first movement’s opening theme. Joyful and celebratory, it rings out in various voices throughout the orchestra, appearing as a fugue subject in search of a fugue which never materializes. Instead, this occasionally comic music unfolds as a brisk, frolicking waltz in 3/8 time.

I. Allegro:

II. Andantino grazioso:

III. Presto:


Featured Image: springtime magnolia blossoms in Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart, photograph by B. Brunauer

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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