Minor-Key Mozart

Minor-Key Mozart

Mozart’s music is generally full of joy and exuberance, but on rare occasions the composer moves into darker worlds through the use of minor keys. There just two minor-key symphonies—Symphony No. 40, perhaps Mozart’s best-known, and No. 25, whose frantic, turbulent opening bars can be heard in the first shocking minutes of the 1984 movie Amadeus. Among Mozart’s 27 piano concertos are, again, only a pair in a minor tonality, including No. 20 in D minor, written in the same key as Mozart’s powerful Requiem, left unfinished at his untimely death in 1791 at 35.

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