Modestly scored (like most of Mozart's symphonies and serenades of the early 1770s) for strings, oboes, and horns, this is one of the symphonies Mozart wrote in Salzburg shortly after his travels in Italy, and it finds the composer beginning to shake off the influences of Italian opera overtures, although it does fall into only three movements.
The Allegro maestoso evokes the sound of C.P.E. Bach and the Mannheim composers, with a little blurt for full orchestra followed by a long, jogging passage in threes -- fast triplets in a broad triple time. The second subject, such as it is, features octave leaps for the violins but hardly counts as independent material. As if making up for the minimal development sections in most of his earlier symphonies, Mozart begins this one with a daring plunge into remote harmonies. Even so, this development is quite limited and turns out to be little more than an arresting transition into the recapitulation.
The Andante grazioso, for strings alone, is essentially a gavotte, the A section with its variant framing a slightly contrasting B section with its own variation. Eschewing a minuet, Mozart moves straight into the concluding Allegro, an occasionally fiery rondo; the initial melody, graceful as it is, repeatedly gives way to more agitated material that threatens to dominate the movement, as well as some hunting-horn material.