Keyboard instruments > Piano solo

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Sonata B flat major K. 570

Editor: Ernst Herttrich
Fingering: Hans-Martin Theopold

8.95 $

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

Pages: 16 (III, 13), Size 23,5 x 31,0 cm
Order no. HN 398 · ISMN 979-0-2018-0398-2

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

Those wishing to get to know Mozart’s gentle, slightly elegiac side should play the opening movement of this lesser-known piano sonata K. 570. The second movement, too, marries the calm strains of horns with a somber melody in C minor. Only in the spirited B-flat major finale (“Allegretto”, in alla breve meter) does the mood shift to – restrained – gaiety. Strangely enough, this sonata was initially published (posthumously in 1796) as a violin sonata, a version that is not at all hard on the ears. If we didn’t have Mozart’s autograph manuscript of the piano sonata (albeit only in fragments), along with his entry in his own catalogue of works (Vienna, February 1789: “A sonata for piano solo.”), one might presume that this sonata in B-flat major existed as a genuine pair of twins (with and without violin accompaniment).


Many of Mozart’s works in B flat major, among them are the Concerto K 595 and this Piano Sonata K 570, are characterized by gentle, sometimes somber resignation.

FIRST MOVEMENT Compared with the rhythmically similar opening of the F major Sonata, K 332, this B flat major Sonata is lacking in energy and drive, and the beginning of the melody of the first-subject swings like a pendulum around the tonic. As in many late works, Mozart makes ample use of counterpoint in a gallant manner. The movement has no well-defined contrasting theme, but approaches the monothematicism of many Haydn sonatas. When the opening them appears in the function of a secondary subject, it is enriched by a counterpoint in repeated notes which anticipates the fugal subject of the overture and Papageno scenes of The Magic Flute. Nor is Mozart the dramatist is totally absent in this movement: the development plunges us abruptly – and with great effect – into D flat major. Tension mounts as the second part of the theme rises in pitch and volume (measures 84 94), leading to a soft G major bass entry of the first subject.

SECOND MOVEMENT The thematic economy of the first movement and the skillful exchange of material between the hands are somewhat reminiscent of Haydn. This is not so in the introspective Adagio in E flat major. It expresses resignation but without bitterness: a sublimated farewell, music free from earthly trammels. This movement is in rondo form and its first episode in C minor is closely related to the C minor passage in the central movement of the Piano Concerto K 491, measure 14 being an almost direct quotation.

THIRD MOVEMENT The final rondo, in the so-called French rondo form with a “missing” ritornello in the middle of the movement, relates to The Magic Flute motif in its second episode.

Paul and Eva Badura-Skoda

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