Keyboard instruments > Piano solo

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Sonata B flat major K. 281 (189f)

Editor: Ernst Herttrich
Fingering: Hans-Martin Theopold

7.00 €

Urtext Edition, paperbound
Detailed critical commentary
(not available in the printed editions)
available free-of-charge: Download

Pages: 21 (I, IV,1, 17)
Order no. HN 1053 · ISMN 979-0-2018-1053-9

Level of difficulty (Piano): medium (Level 5/6)

In his letters Mozart described his early Piano Sonatas K. 279-284 as being "difficult sonatas". He was probably referring less to the refinements of performance and more to the demands of aesthetics and interpretation, as he also gave these works unusually rich markings as far as dynamics and articulation were concerned. The tempo marking "Andante amoroso", rather untypical for Mozart, for the middle movement of his Sonata in B flat major K. 281 is striking - but is there a better way to describe this tender, lyrical music? Up to now this lovely sonata was only contained in the larger complete volume (HN 1), but now it is offered in an inexpensive single edition.

FIRST MOVEMENT B flat major, the key of the third sonata in the cycle, seems to have been Mozart’s favourite key for piano music, since he used it for three sonatas and no fewer than four concertos and six piano and violin sonatas. At the outset, the theme of the first movement introduces a charming dualism between sixteenth triplets and 32nd notes. This admirably constructed movement deserves to be played more often; and the fortepiano instruments of Mozart’s time, with their clear, transparent sound and their individual timbre, seem especially well-suited to present the charming delicacy of the whole sonata.

SECOND MOVEMENT The second movement, an Andante amoroso (originally marked Andantino belongs to Mozart’s loveliest early works. It should be played with introspective devotion, not as a declaration of passion. Affectionate sighs alternate with the gentle flow of tender melodic phrases.

THIRD MOVEMENT The final rondo is in gavotte rhythm; it is packed with the expression of high spirits and concerto-like effects, for instance with the short cadenza in measure 43 and the return of the theme beneath a trill accompaniment (m. 114f). The theme of the rondo is binary, the second part being a varied repeat in the sense of the C.P.E. Bach’s use of the term. The Italianate “Mannheim sighs” in measure 3 are repeated in the first episode. The second episode in minor introduces a hint of melancholy into the course of gay events, which the third episode also interrupts, this time with a loud, dramatically spread diminished-seventh chord (m. 102 104). The movement, which is related in form as well as key to the finales of the Sonatas K 333 and K 570, and also to that of the Concerto K 238, comes to an end with a brief and wittily playful coda.
Paul and Eva Badura-Skoda

More information
Suggested viewing on YouTube: Vadim Chaimovich, movements 1-3

Audio example: Maria João Pires
Deutsche Grammophon 028947752004GB6


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