Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Serenade in G Major, K.525 "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"
Menuetto e Trio
Throughout his short but busy life Mozart composed pieces of light music under such titles as Serenade and Divertimento. They were usually intended for use as background music at social functions, but they are so full of happy inspirations that they have repaid the more attentive audiences of later generations. The Serenade in G called Eine kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music) is among the best-known of these works, yet surprisingly little is known about its origins. It was composed in 1787 when Mozart was working on his opera Don Giovanni, and completed on 10 August. Presumably it was written for some festive occasion in Vienna that year, but nothing is known about its first performance. The composer's own catalogue lists it as being for two violins, viola and bass, but it is usually played nowadays by a small string orchestra. Although the score now contains four movements, Mozart originally listed another minuet between the first movement and the Romanze.
The layout of the music is straightforward and needs no detailed analysis. The first movement contrasts a decisive principal theme, which is announced at the beginning, with a delicate second subject. In the following Romanze the central section moves into the minor key and thereby takes on briefly a darker hue. The third movement is an elegant, graceful minuet enclosing a flowing trio section, and the serenade ends with a lively rondo.
© Eric Mason