Er, *no*…

— Or, to put it another way (i.e. in the words of a thoughtful pal of mine who saw the same Twitter message and was equally staggered by its imbecility):

“What on earth is this even supposed to mean…?”

Precisely…

Though, if I may take my pal’s question the wrong way, I can perhaps answer that what this twaddle ‘means’ is that, somewhere at the BBC — or, more likely, somewhere at one or other low-wage, low-skills ‘outsourcing’ organisation that has no essential connection with classical music or anything related to it — decisions are being made about this repertoire and its ‘marketing’ by someone whose talents are better fitted to creating the kind of content-less radio advert that people on commercial stations read out in a ridiculously affected manner…

Not that this is any reason why readers shouldn’t now listen for themselves to the terrific, so-called ‘Prague’ Symphony (Mozart was visiting the city in 1787 and premiered it there; that’s all the title is about).

Yes, that is an unusually large and complex first movement — and only partly as a result of the slow introduction (not an unprecedented Mozartian feature) being so long. If there had been a ‘rule book’ in 1786 (and there wasn’t), this movement, at least, might have made an interesting note in the margin. As it was, it didn’t change anyone’s ‘rules’. In fact, as far as front-rank symphonic structures are concerned, it doesn’t appear to have had much immediate influence at all: it’s a sad apparent fact of compositional life that, if you want to pick up where Mozart left off, you basically have to be Mozart. And when, 15 years later, Beethoven smashed the 13-minute barrier with the first movement of his own Symphony No. 3 (‘Eroica’), you can tell by the absence of any slow introduction that the Mozart wasn’t his model

Now, don’t you wish Radio 3’s social-media ‘music marketing’ was this good…?

If you do, ask youself why it isn’t

MD

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