Posted by: rbbadger | January 27, 2010

Mozart, Symphony No. 35 “Haffner”

One of my all-time favourite Mozart pieces is the Symphony No. 35.  Written on the occasion of a friend of the family, Sigmund von Haffner being raised to the nobility, it is has long been one of Mozart’s most popular pieces.  I think that of all the great composers, Mozart is just about the easiest to listen to.  He writes very clearly and directly.  Thus, it is very easy to dismiss him as too facile.  But that would be a great mistake, as lurking behind an apparent simplicity is an utterly amazing mind at work. 

The great Swiss Protestant theologian Karl Barth once said that the first person he wanted to meet in heaven, even ahead of Calvin and Luther, was Mozart.  As he once said, “when the angels go about their task of praising God, they play only Bach, but when they are gathered together en famille, they play Mozart and then too the good God listens with special pleasure (Hans Küng, Mozart: Traces of Transcendence, 11).  

Here is the Dutch conductor and recorder virtuoso Frans Brüggen with the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana.


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