Symphony No. 22

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Symphony No. 22 in C major


About this work

Mozart composed this work in Salzburg in the spring of 1773. As his many admirers are aware, the composer's early symphonies tended to be half the length or so of his better-known later ones. This C major effort is particularly diminutive, lasting only about eight or nine minutes. Yet its Liliputian size is no measure of its considerable artistic worth.

The first movement is marked Allegro assai and opens in a stately mood that soon yields to livelier, busier music. The second subject is subdued and delicate in its playful character, charming in its carefree yet elegant joyfulness. The development section, based on the second subject, is brief but divulges a greater sense of drama and contrast than the music in the exposition. There follows a cheerful reprise to close out the movement.

The Andante grazioso that ensues is elegant and livelier than its marking might suggest. Here the chipper theme is introduced by the strings, then given over to the oboes and horns. Afterwards the strings and winds engage in several elegant exchanges, the mood a mixture of the playful and dreamy. The Presto assai finale, at two minutes, is the shortest of the three movements. But it makes up for its brevity with an irresistible combination of joy and energy in its bouncy rhythms, ecstatically swirling strings, and generally colorful scoring.