Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Four Mozart Piano Sonatas

This is a past Tuesday Blog from Jan-21-2014. 

Today’s installment of Once Upon the Internet presents four of the 18 “numbered” piano sonatas in Mozart’s catalog. Even if we add the doubtful or fragmentary sonatas found in the catalog to those 18, the number doesn’t compare to Beethoven’s (32), Haydn’s (over 50) or Scarlatti’s (over 550). They are modest in scope when compared to Beethoven’s or Chopin’s, but varied in their pianistic requirements and in their overall texture.

All four of the sonata performances (downloaded a dozen or so years ago from MP3.COM) are from “live” performances, three of them from the Mozart and Beethoven musical scholar Paul Badura-Skoda.

The “Turkish Rondo” sonata (K. 311) is part of today’s set and gained particular fame for its last movement, the "Rondo alla turca." That movement took its inspiration from the popularity of quasi-Turkish music in Vienna, a fashionable form already exploited by Mozart in The Abduction form the Seraglio of the previous year. In this month of “variations”, we note the elegant set of variations in the first movement.

Also note the catalog numbering for the 15th sonata – the third movement Rondo was originally a stand-alone piece composed by Mozart a few years earlier (K. 494 in the Köchel catalogue.) In 1788, Mozart wrote the first two movements of K. 533 and incorporated a revised version of K. 494 as the finale, having lengthened it in order to provide a more substantial counterpart to the other two movements.

Happy listening!

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Piano Sonata No.14 in C-, K. 457
Elena Kuschnerova, piano
(Live performance, Stuttgart 1996)

Piano Sonata No.11 in A, K. 331 ('Alla turca')
Piano Sonata No.15 in F, K.533 and K.494
Piano Sonata No.18 in D, K. 576 ('Hunt')
Paul Badura-Skoda, piano
(Live performances, Rio de Janeiro, 1992 [K. 331], Prague, 1992 [K 533] and New-York, 1958 [K. 576])

Downloaded from MP3.COM - 22 November 2001

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