Keyboard instruments > Piano solo

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Sonata F major K. 533/494

Editor: Ernst Herttrich
Fingering: Hans-Martin Theopold

9.00 €

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

Pages: 25 (V, 20), Size 23,5 x 31,0 cm
Order no. HN 1041 · ISMN 979-0-2018-1041-6

Level of difficulty (Piano): difficult (Level 7)


Mozart assembled this sonata from two parts that had been composed at different times. The Rondo K. 494 is from 1786. It was only in January 1788 that Mozart composed the two pieces K. 533, and had Hoffmeister in Vienna publish the three movements as a sonata. To this end he did, however, thoroughly rework the Rondo, incorporating a small fugue-like passage - perhaps to bring the finale closer to the other two movements. In its final version the work shows how intensively Mozart had looked into the style of Bach and Handel at the time. We are now offering this sonata, included in the complete volume, as an attractive single edition with a new preface by the editor.

After the composition of the great C minor Sonata there is a turning point in Mozart’s sonata output. His writing assumes more subtlety, and a more pronounced inclination to contrapuntal writing – as in the first two movements of the F major Sonata K 533. (Mozart himself later added the F major Rondo K 494 as a third movement for this sonata).

FIRST MOVEMENT The first movement opens rather conventionally; however, it then builds up a tension in the development from the simplest raw material. The recapitulation brings a further surprise by turning towards remote minor keys and adding another short contrapuntal development of the opening theme.

SECOND MOVEMENT The second movement, an Andante, is all resignation and melancholy – undoubtedly the greatest movement in the Sonata. Unlike the more short-winded first movement, it spans a long melodic arch which never sags throughout the first subject group, right down to the half-close at measure 22. The anguished dissonance in measure 2 of the theme is quickly resolved, giving way to a sublime cadence on B flat with a hint of resignation. The polyphonic writing is meticulous, and the themes are fundamentally related as well as being contrapuntally viable (see the beginning of the development). The cumulative dissonant suspension towards the end of the development (measures 60 72) still perplexed musicians in the nineteenth century, and even today we can only marvel at the dramatic suspense of this linear part-writing.

THIRD MOVEMENT After this Andante Mozart did not write a finale but chose the F major Rondo, composed in 1786, to round up the Sonata. It affords a point of repose; but despite Mozart’s extension of the rondo form by a contrapuntal cadenza-like section, and despite a wonderful episode in F minor, this piece lacks the tension which distinguished the previous movements, particularly the second.

Paul and Eva-Badura-Skoda

More information

Suggested viewing on YouTube: Emil Gilels
1st movement
2nd movement
3rd movement

Audio example: Maria João Pires
Deutsche Grammophon 028947752004GB6


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