Mozart: Symphony no 31, “Paris” (K297)

In this video

Physical CD:

The year was 1778. Mozart (22 Years old) was in Paris, trying to break into musical society and get a well-payed placement.

It was first the first trip he had made without his father Leopold. But the places he visited weren’t impressed by his skills now, even though they’d been whipped into a wild frenzy by Mozart when he was a 6 year old performing prodigy.

His entire Paris trip was catastrophic, personally and professionally. Aside from his mother dying during his stay there (she had accompanied him), French musicians and listeners were snobby and rude to Mozart. He deeply resented them for the rest of his life.

Worse still, his job search was futile. Nobody wanted to hire him!

But a fantastic opportunity presented itself at one point. Mozart was asked to write a symphony to open Paris’s most famous concert series, with a fantastically large orchestra at his disposal.

Perfect – a chance to make a huge splash, and get himself noticed by Paris’s elite!

He finished the piece, his 31st symphony, in June 1778. The premiere was at a private concert at an ambassador’s house, and the public premiere followed a few days later.

Mozart had tried hard to fit his symphony into the mold of French tastes. The audiences in Paris at that time loved raw excitement and flashy colors in their music. Mozart delivered in spades, using his large orchestra to dazzle and delight.

The audience were very pleased with the symphony, even applauding in the middle of it at certain points!

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart Akademie Amsterdam
Jaap ter Linden (conductor)


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