On today's date, Wolfgang Mozart completed two of his most famous works: on August 10th, 1787, the Serenade known as "Eine kleine Nachtmusik," and, on the same day exactly one year later, the "Jupiter Symphony" — Mozart's Symphony No. 41 in C Major.
Despite the fame of "Eine kleine Nachtmusik"—which translates as "A Little Night Music" — nothing is known for certain about the circumstances of its composition. Since a Serenade is a suite of orchestral movements normally written as background music for some rich patron's patio party, we can assume "Eine kleine" filled such a function some pleasant evening in Vienna. We can only hope the patrons appreciated what they got for their money.
Hardly any more is known about the composition of Mozart's final symphony, the "Jupiter," as no relevant letters or documents survive from this period of his life. The "Jupiter" nickname appears to have originated years later in London. In Germany it was just called "the symphony with the fugal finale."
There's a classic recording of Mozart's symphony favorites featuring the Marlboro Festival Orchestra with Pablo Casals conducting. The Marlboro Festival is held each summer for seven weeks in a cluster of old farm buildings on a hilltop in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Talented young professional musicians from all over the country gather here, principally to study, secondly to perform, for audiences eager to hear both the emerging and established Marlboro musicians.
Music Played in Today's Program
Wolfgang Mozart (1756-1791)Eine Kleine NachtmusikAcademy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields; Sir Neville Marriner, cond.EMI Classics 65690
Wolfgang MozartSymphony No. 41 in C (Jupiter)Marlboro Festival Orchestra; Pablo Casals, cond.CBS/Sony 47294