Wednesday, April 24

Mozart's Piano Sonatas through the eyes of Alfred Einstein - Part 3 (K. 284)

"Quite unique among the sonatas of this series [Einstein refers to the set of the first six sonatas] is the one in D (K. 284), composed in February or March 1775 in Munich for a music-lover of that city, Baron Thaddaus von Durnitz. The beginning of the first movement survives in an earlier version, appropriately in the style of the other works of this series, but Durnitz must have stated that he wished something different, more brilliant, in the 'French style' - or Mozart himself must have had a personal or musical experience that suddenly lifted him to a new and higher level. What was this experience? We do not know; but shall we not simply assume that a miracle had taken place, in one of those fortunate hours of inspiration, without which no advances in art would be possible?"

 We are so fortunate to be able to "experience" this miracle, not simply talk about it... So, here is the 1st movement (Allegro) (Ushida, piano):

Let's move on to the other movements...

"The first movement is followed by a Polonaise en Rondeau, in which the theme returns in ever more elaborate  texture, and then there comes, for the first time in a Mozart piano sonata, a 'tema con variazioni' - all this, including the second version of the first movement, having a sensuous richness and a concerto like animation, which is a perpetual source of wonder. Particularly remarkable is the sonority and the unity of the variations. [...] Not even the somewhat old-fashioned and lengthy adagio variation interrupts the flow of the creative imagination."

Mozart has written Themes and Variations before this sonata. But it is here that he goes much deeper than simply a virtuoso display. Let me also add that, for the first time, we come across a Minor variation...

So, here is the Tema con Variationi, performed by Andras Schiff.


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