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Work

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Composer

Piano Sonata No.15 in F, K.533

Performances: 34
Tracks: 98
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Musicology:
  • Piano Sonata No.15 in F, K.533
    Key: F
    Year: 1788
    Genre: Sonata
    Pr. Instrument: Piano
    • 1.Allegro
    • 2.Andante
    • 3.Rondo: Allegretto
Mozart entered the Piano Sonata in F major, K. 533, into his "List of All my Works" on January 8, 1788. It was published in Vienna in 1788 with a revision of the Rondo, K. 494, as a finale. Mozart had completed the Rondo on June 10, 1786, and had it published in London and Speyer in 1788, separately from the Sonata. To the Rondo Mozart added a cadenza to make the movement more substantial and, therefore, a better fit with the Allegro and Andante. At this time Mozart composed relatively little music as he was preoccupied with the arrangement of a Vienna performance of Don Giovanni, for which he wrote a few new numbers.

Considered Mozart's most contrapuntal keyboard work, the Allegro has a very sparse texture and Mozart's use of dissonance is freer than in many of his other pieces. Occasionally, Mozart seems to be writing chamber music for one instrument. He exchanges material between the hands, creating a "dialogue" much as we might find in a string quartet. We hear the first example of this only a few measures into the movement at the repeat of the first theme, which occurs in the left hand instead of the right. The movement boasts one of Mozart's longest expositions in a work for solo piano, with numerous ideas in each of the two key areas. The development section presents a fascinating combination of material. In its first few measures, Mozart brings together the first two measures and the last four measures of the exposition while maintaining independence between the two motives. He uses a similar procedure during the recapitulation of one of the secondary themes, where the tune is combined contrapuntally with the opening of the first theme.

The chromatic slow movement is reminiscent of C.P.E. Bach in its ornamentation, and florid melodies, rather than those constructed of short motives, are the order of the day. What has been called Mozart's process of "increasing animation" appears throughout this movement, in which the composer gradually quickens rhythms and stretches phrases. The most fascinating passage of the Andante occurs almost exactly halfway through the movement, at the end of the development section. Persistent chromatic alterations produce strident dissonance as daring as any found in Mozart's music. The sequential nature of the material makes the passage sound even more relentless in its passage through distant harmonies on the way to a strong arrival on the tonic and the beginning of the recapitulation.

Mozart unites the Rondo finale with the preceding movement by incorporating a motive from the closing area of the Andante into the first episode. The high point of the finale is a central episode on F minor, which is really a variant of the Rondo theme. The cadenza near the end begins after an extended dominant pedal and continues to remain unstable until a strong cadence on the tonic that initiates the final reprise of the Rondo theme, although in an abbreviated form.

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