Symphony No.41 in C major K551 ('Jupiter')
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


Listen to this piece at now

Mozart's Jupiter symphony has dropped 17 places since last year, but it's still well within orbit of the top 300

First of all, the nickname. Unlike the Eine Kleine Nachtmusik epithet, which stems from Mozart's own description in his personal notebook, the word 'Jupiter' probably has nothing to do with Mozart. Unfortunately, it appears to be marketing hype, coined by the same chap who promoted Haydn concerts in England, one Johann Peter Salomon. If true, then the name came from London, first used in a concert programme for the Philharmonic Society of London (now the Royal Philharmonic Society) and that was a full twenty-six years after Mozart died.

Staggeringly, this very popular symphony was written within days of both Mozart's Symphony No.39 and Symphony No.40. It could be that Mozart had at least a couple of symphonies buzzing around in his head before committing them almost whole to paper. But to have three fully formed works committed to memory is truly astonishing. More proof, if it were needed, of the correct use of the word 'genius' when applied to Mozart.