This guide to Mozart's last and most celebrated symphony explores the historical background and aesthetic context of the work as well as the music itself. The early chapters examine the expectations of the symphony in Mozart's Vienna, Mozart's career in 1788 - the year of the three last symphonies - and the changing reception of the 'Jupiter' over the subsequent two hundred years. A separate chapter is then devoted to each movement of the symphony with musical discussion illuminated by a broad array of topics. Finally, a lucid exposition of rhetoric reveals the connections between elevated and learned styles and the sublime, enabling the reader to grasp the effect Mozart's music had upon his contemporaries.
"...it is a delight to find such a text immediately setting about debunking the kind of canonical valorization which is our critical heritage since the Back Revival. No mere collection of empirical data here, however, as Sisman links audience rowdiness and aestheic attitudes with unproblematic ease; a critical turn which should be less alien to more writers." Steve Sweeney-Turner, The Musical Times