1779: Mozart: Symphony No. 33 (CHAMBER) in Bb Major

SATURDAY, November 7, 2020 – 9:34 AM

Symphony No. 33 (CHAMBER) in Bb Major


2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, strings

Carlos Kleiber

He did miraculous things with orchestras, so he’s hard to beat when he was at his best, and I’d say that’s true here.

1st movement

The movement does not repeat the exposition and the development section short and simple. There is a four-note motive in the development (F G Bb A) that is exactly like the beginning of the finale of the “Jupiter” symphony of 1788.

2nd movement

It starts out in major with just strings, no winds. Then there is a secondary theme in C minor for a moment before settling into Bb major – still no winds. Finally he uses woodwinds, and they alternate with the strings for a brief time. Then back to all strings. He comes back to the 2nd theme and then finishes up with the 1st theme in sort of a “mirror” form.

3rd movement

In 1782 Mozart put this Minuet and Trio into the symphony, placing it in the usual 3rd position.

4th movement

This light and playful finale might remind some of the final movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8. This last movement is extremely famous.


The nickname is mine because it’s the smallest and therefore the most intimate of Mozart’s late symphonies. There are too many Mozart symphonies to remember by names, or at least for me.

The really famous movement here it the last one, so perhaps start with it first. It’s super catchy. I can’t get it out of my mind.


Symphony No. 33 is the smallest of his late symphonies. The lightness of the work extends to the mood of the piece.

Despite the disappointment…

There is no sadness here, and to me it is unbelievable that he expressed such joy when this part of his life had been so very hard.

Published during his lifetime…

Only a few of his symphonies were published during Mozart’s lifetime, and that’s worth thinking about today, when his symphonies are so popular and loved.

Chamber music with only three movements…

There are no brass instruments except for two horns,and there are only two woodwinds with two players apiece. But there is a divided viola part. The symphony originally only had three movements. the Minuet and Trio was added later in 1782 for performances in Vienna.


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