Mozart Piano Sonatas

Mozart Piano Sonatas

Deceptively simple, but requiring a deftness of touch and control to ensure their pristine qualities are brought to the fore, a performance of any of the eighteen Mozart Piano Sonatas presents a challenge for even the most accomplished pianist. Taken as a whole, they form a body of work that, more than any other, fills the gap between the baroque and classical eras.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was not only a prodigious and prolific composer, but a piano virtuoso. Published between 1774 and 1789, the sonatas represent both sides of his genius: often beginning their life as improvisations at the instrument, Mozart developed his initial ideas into some of the most finessed compositions in his repertoire. Always delightful, sometimes startling, who else but Mozart would have the audacity to begin a sonata, as he does in his Sonata in A major (K331), with a lullaby?

Today the Romanesque Hall at St Peter’s Abbey in Salzburg hosts recitals of Mozart’s inimitable music featuring the sonatas he wrote for solo piano. St Peter's can trace its origins as far back as the end of the seventh century - the oldest continuous monastic foundation in the German-speaking world - but its buildings also occupy a special place in the personal history of the Mozart family. Mozart wrote two masses that were heard for the first time at the Abbey: his Missa solemnis in C major, in 1769, and his Great Mass in C minor, in 1783. And while Mozart’s final resting place remains unknown, his sister, Nannerl, is buried in the Abbey’s cemetery.

With a lyricism unmatched by any other composer, and despite being less well-known than the famous collection of thirty-two sonatas written by Ludwig van Beethoven, Mozart’s piano sonatas are, for many, the true definition of musical perfection.

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