Relayed from the National Museum of Wales
National Orchestra of Wales
Gluck said, in a preface to Alcestis, that in his Overture he aimed at letting this preludial music 'indicate the subject and prepare the spectators for the character of the piece they are about to see'.
How Gluck carried out his ideals we shall hear in this Overture, in which the noble, tragic and pathetic qualities of the drama are finely suggested.
Handel's Great Concertos ('Concerti Grossi' are not Concertos in the modern meaning of works for (usually) one Soloist and an Orchestra.
Handel generally used an Orchestra of Stringed instruments and one or two Harpsichords and divided it into two groups of players. One group consisted of two Violins and a Violoncello, and the other comprised the remainder of the Orchestra. One Harpsichord supported each group.
These groups are played off one against another, all through the work, having alternate cuts at the music, so to speak; and sometimes they are combined.
To Handel's speed in writing Operas and Oratorios there is a parallel in Mozart's completing three of his greatest symphonies in less than two months. One of them, the great G Minor, took only ten days.
One thing noticeable all through this Symphony is that Mozart has used in it no Drums, nor any of the heavier Brass instruments.
Of its four Movements, the First is quick and bustling-full of restless energy and dramatic fire, with an undercurrent of anxiety and mystery running through it.
The Second Movement comes as a beautiful, restful relief after the agitation of the First.
The Third Movement is a cheerful, rather ceremonious Minuet.
The Fourth Movement is the sweeping, rushing Finale, whose speed never slackens, though there are moments of tranquillity.