“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
This symphony is unquestionably one of Mozart’s most greatly admired works, composed in 1788 at the age of 32. (He was to die 3 years later.) The fact that we are still humming this melody is a testament to the unique nature and magic of music. Few things stand the test of time more than music: maybe because the music still lives on and is present among us. But not just any music – who besides Mozart and some other classical composers will be widely known in another 235 years? Frank Sinatra, Lennon/McCartney, Bob Dylan and possibly Stevie Wonder?
Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550, is one of only two symphonies Mozart wrote in minor keys and reflects his interest in the artistic movement known as Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress), in which darker and stronger emotions were showcased.
The year 1788 was a dark one for Mozart. Viennese audiences were proving less eager to hear his concerts and recitals, bills were piling up, and his infant daughter Theresia had just died. Letters to friends reveal that he was finding it difficult to look beyond the shadows, and some have suggested that this fact influenced this unusually anxious symphony. He would have been quite surprised and gratified that it has become a foundational part of music in Western civilization!!
Some information from wikipedia
Footprints in the Sands of Time (3:14) – Weiss and Longfellow
“Music is the universal language of mankind.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Music in Western Civilization in 24 Seconds! (0:24) – a boogie woogie summary
Fantasia in D Minor (4:31) – Mozart
Minuet in F (0:59) – Mozart