Sonatas for Piano and Violin -Early Viennese Sonatas

Catalog: BA4775

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The Sonatas by Mozart for piano and violin in this volume can be divided clearly into two groups. The first and more important group contains the sonatas K. 379, 376, 377 and 380, which were all composed in the spring and summer of 1781 during Mozart’s first year in Vienna. The second group consists of unfinished works, some of which were completed by Maximilian Stadler. For this reason they have been rel- egated in this edition to the Appendix. With the exception of the fragment K. 372 (Appendix II, 1) which is dated 24 March 1781, the other fragments K. 404 (Appendix I), 403 and 402 (Appendix II, 2–3) were probably written in August or September 1782 in Vienna.

The fragment K. 372 and the Sonata K. 379 are the last two works which Mozart composed as part of his duties in the service of the Archbishop of Salzburg, Hieronymus Count Colloredo, before he broke with that prince of the church. The Archbishop had ordered Mozart to go from Munich, where he had produced Idomeneo at the end of January, to Vienna. Mozart arrived on 16 March. On 8 April a concert took place in which works by Mozart were performed, among them: “a sonata with accompaniment of a violin, for me – which I composed yesterday night from 11 to 12 o’ clock – but so that I should finish it, only wrote the accompanying part for Brunetti, but I’ve kept my part in my head – ...” (Letter of 8 April 1781 to his father). The general opinion has been until now that this letter must refer to K. 379. However this view is not substantiated by the fact that the keyboard part in this work (which, as Mozart writes, he intended for himself) is relatively modest compared to that of the violin. The brilliant E-flat major Sonata K. 380, on the other hand, matches fully the expectations aroused by the letter. Added to that, the strongest argument for the assumption that K. 379 is the first of the Viennese sonatas – namely the existence of a manuscript violin part for this sonata – has proved to be false since it has been established that this part belongs to an arrangement for strings (otherwise unknown) dating from the 1790s.

The Sonata K. 372 too was certainly intended for the violinist Brunetti mentioned in the letter. Mozart was to have played it with Brunetti in a concert on 3 April 1781 but since the Archbishop abruptly for- bade Mozart to participate, it seems likely that he interrupted his work. When at short notice Mozart was given permission to perform at the concert there was no more time to complete it.

After Mozart had left the service of the Archbishop of Salzburg in dramatic circumstances and was trying to establish himself in Vienna he decided to publish a set of violin sonatas. For this purpose he composed the sonatas K. 376, 377 and 380 and completed a six- part opus with the sonata K. 379 and the Sonatas K. 296 and 378 which appear in BA 4774. They were published by Artaria in Vienna as Opus II at the end of November 1781. Mozart dedicated the works to his pupil Josepha von Auernhammer. This first edition appears to have been carefully prepared and as regards the dynamic indications is more precise and complete than the autographs. For this reason it, as well as the autographs, has been used as sources for the present edition.

Regarding the fragments, K. 402–404, Mozart scholars have assumed until now that these were composed for Mozart’s wife Constanze but left unfinished. Such an assumption cannot however be upheld for the Andante and Allegretto in C major K. 404. It is not even certain that the two movements really belong together since we have the autograph of the Allegretto but not of the Andante. It is probable that K. 404 should be dated much later than has been usually assumed. G. de Saint-Foix placed the Andante on stylistic grounds somewhere near the Sonata K. 547 (dated 10 July 1788). As regards the Allegretto, the fact that the keyboard instrument is specifically named as pianoforte points in the same direction since Mozart first used this term in the keyboard/violin sona- tas for K. 526. The publisher André in Offenbach published both pieces with the title Sonatine and, according to Köchel, completed the unfinished Andante. It is however not certain that the two movements really make up a sonatina. In an early Viennese edition of the work there is no mention of Sonatine; the title is simply Andante et Allegretto faciles.

The fragment K. 403 has the title Sonate Premiere. Par moi W: A: Mozart pour ma très chère Epouse. It may be assumed from this that Mozart after his marriage to Constanze (4 August 1782) had started to compose a set of sonatas for his young wife. The last movement, of which only 20 bars exist in Mozart’s hand, was completed after his death with a further 124 bars by Maximilian Stadler and published as Sonate facile by André in Offenbach in 1830.

Table of Contents:
  • Sonata in G / Sonata in G major KV 379 (373a)
  • Sonata in F / Sonata in F major KV 376 (374d)
  • Sonata in F / Sonata in F major KV 377 (374e)
  • Sonata in Es / Sonata in E-flat major KV 380 (374f)
  • Andante und Allegretto in C / C major KV 404 (385d)
  • Drei Sonatenfragmente, ergänzt von Maximillian Stadler:
  • Erster Satz einer Sonate in B / First movement of a Sonata in B-flat major KV 372
  • Sonata in C / Sonata in C major KV 403 (385c)
  • Andante und Fuge einer Sonata in A / Andante and Fugue of a Sonata in A major KV 402 (385e)
Sample Pages
Publisher: Bärenreiter
Composer/Author: Mozart, W. A.
Arranger/Editor: Reeser, Eduard
Catalog Number: BA4775