As The Tune expands and grows, we want to add coverage for genres from country to metal to world to R&B — true music lovers aren’t limited by genre or time period. To that end, we recently hired Anna Seda, a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder and a talented cellist, to begin our section on classical music. Once a week, we will publish her selection for ClassicalCrumbs, a Song of the Week-style article; and once a month, we will publish her ClassicalCocktails — a review of an entire classical album. If you have any suggestions or comments, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and make sure to bookmark The Tune so you can stream and read about her selections for ClassicalCrumb every week! -Jordy Kasko, ed.
Jupiter, the Roman king of the gods, was considered the “optimus maximus” in the Roman Republic. Music impresario John Peter Salomon nicknamed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart‘s 41st symphony the “Jupiter” symphony to praise the mind-boggling compositional techniques Mozart pioneered. Mozart’s career began at an astonishingly early age as his violin teacher and father, Leopold Mozart, toured both of his children, Wolfgang and daughter Nannerl, across Europe for performances to show off their prodigious talent. Mozart’s 41st symphony was his final symphony, written at the age of 31. To our modern eyes, that age barely signifies the start of a career and a family. But Mozart had reached his prime, creating master works like The Marriage Of Figaro and prolific amounts of piano concerti and sonatas as well as chamber music. He died just four years later of what speculators believe to have been rheumatic fever.
The finale of the Jupiter symphony is a phenomenon wherein Mozart organically introduces five melodies and then turns them into a fugue towards the end of the piece. Mozart was inspired by the concept of the fugue after mentor Gottfried van Swieten introduced him to manuscripts of J.S. Bach and George Frideric Handel. So essentially, all five melodies end up playing at the same time using the same fugal compositional techniques that Bach mastered in a miraculous whirlwind of music that is arguably incomprehensible to the human ear. Contrary to popular belief, Woody Allen did not say that Mozart’s 41st proves the existence of God, but rather he listed the “Jupiter” symphony as part of why life is worth living in his 1979 film Manhattan.