Any opportunity to hear the final three symphonies of Mozart played by the BSO in a single program-in this instance under the distinguished baton of Christoph von Dohnányi-is a special event. Virtually defining their genre at the peak of the Classical era, the composer's last three symphonies were written within the span of a few weeks in the summer of 1787. Scholars have never pinpointed what may have triggered their composition-perhaps a projected concert series that never took place-but Mozart covered an enormous amount of expressive and technical ground, elevating the symphony (along with Haydn) far beyond the glorified, serenade-like status it had previously held. For Viennese audiences who came of age immediately after Mozart's early death in 1791-i.e., Beethoven's generation-these three works and just a handful of others kept Mozart's name and spirit alive, inspiring composers like Beethoven and Schubert to greater heights. They remain Mozart's most frequently performed symphonies, by far.