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ClassicsOnline Home » MOZART: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1 (Piano Sonatas Nos. 8, 10 and 15)
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"The most passionate renditions of I've heard"
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Piano Sonata in A Minor, K. 310
Piano Sonata in C Major, K. 330
Piano Sonata in F Major, K. 533
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756, the
youngest child of Leopold Mozart, author of a well known treatise on violin-playing and a
musician in the service of the ruling Archbishop. Leopold Mozart was to sacrifice his own
career in order to foster the God-given genius he soon perceived in his son. A childhood
spent in successful tours throughout Europe, in which the young Mozart demonstrated his
skill on the violin, and on the keyboard in improvisation and in performance with his
sister Nannerl was followed by a less satisfactory adolescence at home in Salzburg.
Mozart's talent was none the less, but there seemed little opportunity at home,
particularly after the death of the old Archbishop and the succession of a less indulgent
patron. In 1777 Mozart and his father, now Vice-Kapellmeister, were refused leave to
travel, and Mozart himself resigned his position as Konzertmeister of the court orchestra
and set out, accompanied only by his mother, to seek his fortune elsewhere. The journey
took him to Augsburg, to Munich and eventually to Paris, but only after a prolonged stay
in Mannheim, the seat of the Elector of Bavaria, famous for its musical establishment.
In Mannheim Mozart made many friends among the musicians at
court, but neither here nor in any of the other places he visited was there a suitable
position for him. The following year, after the death of his mother in Paris, he made his
way slowly back to Salzburg, where his father had found him another position at court that
he retained until 1781, when he found final precarious independence in Vienna. The
following year he married the penniless younger sister of a singer on whom he had first
set his heart in Mannheim and won initial success with his German opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail. There were pupils and
subscription concerts, and chances to arouse the admiration of fashionable audiences by
his skill as composer and keyboard-player in a new series of piano concertos. By the end
of the decade, however, his popularity had waned, although there were signs of a change of
fortune in the success of a new German opera, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), which
was still running at the time of his sudden death in December 1791.
Nothing is known of the circumstances of composition of one of
the most important of Mozart's earlier piano sonatas, the >Sonata in A minor, K. 310. It bears the date 1778
and was written in Paris, and therefore was composed at a time when Mozart had come to
understand the futility of wasting more time in France, where he felt himself undervalued.
During the course of the summer his mother died, a misfortune with which he was able to
bear with a greater degree of maturity than might have been expected, breaking the news
gently enough to his father, at home in Salzburg. The A minor Sonata opens with a
principal theme of some poignancy, the mood lightened by the C major second subject. The
elaborate figuration of the F major slow movement leads to an A minor final Presto that
finds room for a brief episode in the tonic major key.
The Sonata in C major, K.
330, was probably written in 1783, either in Vienna, or during the course of
Mozart's first visit home to Salzburg, bringing with him a wife of whom his father
strongly disapproved. It is clearly one of the sonatas mentioned by the composer in a
letter to his father written in June 1784, identified with K. 330, K. 331 and K. 332, and
now sent for publication to Artaria, but already known to his sister. The sonata opens
with an operatic principal theme, while its F major slow movement has at its heart a
darker-hued F minor section, leading to a final Allegretto.
By 1788, the date of the first two movements of the Sonata in F major, K. 533, Mozart's financial
difficulties had assumed some importance for him. His father had died in 1787, the year of
the opera Don Giovanni, while in 1786, the
year of composition of the last movement of the K. 533
Sonata, Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) had proved a success. A
fourth child had been born at the end of December and was to die six months later. The
first two movements of the F major sonata bear the date 3rd January 1788, and the final
rondo the date 10th June 1786, catalogued by Köchel separately as K. 494. The whole
sonata was published in Vienna in early 1788. The first movement starts with a single-line
melody, echoed at the octave, followed by a second subject that includes an important
triplet figure. There is a B flat major slow movement and the final rondo, expanded for
the 1788 publication, now includes a cadenza with an element of counterpoint.
Jeno Jando was born at Pécs, in south Hungary, in 1952. He
started to learn the piano when he was seven and later studied at the Ferenc Liszt Academy
of Music under Katalin Nemes and Pál Kadosa, becoming assistant to the latter on his
graduation in 1974. Jandó has won a number of piano competitions in Hungary and abroad,
including first prize in the 1973 Hungarian Piano Concours and a first prize in the
chamber music category at the Sydney International Piano Competition in 1977. In addition
to his many appearances in Hungary, he has played widely abroad in Eastern and Western
Europe, in Canada and in Japan. He is currently engaged in a project to record all
Mozart's piano concertos and sonatas for Naxos. Other recordings for the Naxos label
include the concertos of Grieg and Schumann as well as Rachmaninov's Second Concerto and Paganini Rhapsody and Beethoven's complete piano
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