Sonatas for Piano and Violin -Late Viennese Sonatas

Catalog: BA4776

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The four sonatas in this volume can be dated with certainty by the entries in the handwritten catalogue which Mozart started in February 1784. The Sonata K. 454 appears there with the date 24 April 1784. Mozart wrote the work for the Mantuan violinist Regina Strinacchini (1761–1829) who played it at her concert in the Kärntnertor Theatre on 29 April 1784 in the presence of the Emperor Joseph II. Mozart, who played the piano part, had only by this time written down the violin part in full; he himself had to play from memory aided at the most by some notes. The work was published in the same year by the Viennese firm Torricella. In 1787 the Viennese firm Artaria, which had taken over Torricella’s interests in the previous year, produced a new edition of the sonata. For the present edition the autograph (Stiftelsen Musikkulturens främjande [R. Nydahl] Stockholm) was used as the principal source; occasional reference to the first edition was made.

The Sonata K. 481 is entered on 12 December 1785 by Mozart in his manuscript catalogue. Nothing is known of the occasion for its composition. Alfred Einstein suggests that Mozart wrote the work only in order to earn money from a publisher. In fact it appeared in 1786 in the Magazin de Musique of the Viennese publisher Hoffmeister. A reprint by H. P. Boßler in Speyer was reviewed in the Speyer Musikalische Zeitung on 13 August 1788. The critic advises the composer not to allow himself to be influenced to such an extent by fashionable taste and recommends Johann Sebastian and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach as models. On the other hand he remarks favourably on the “good harmonic principles” and the “richness of fantasy” in the work and finds, particularly in the Adagio which he describes as “full of delicate feeling, a true expression of languishing love”, the “interchange of sounds of different characters [. . .] not without hardness but also with good effect”. For this edition copies of the autograph (in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz) were used as a principal source, and Hoffmeister’s first edition was also consulted.

The reason is unknown too for the composition of the Sonata K. 526 which Mozart entered in his manu- script catalogue with the date 24 August 1787. It was also published by Hoffmeister in Vienna in September 1787. It is possible that Mozart wrote the work under the influence of the recent death of Johann Friedrich Abel, whom he had admired very much ever since he had visited London as a boy. This idea is supported by the fact that Mozart took the rondo theme of K. 526 from Abel’s Sonata for violin, violoncello and clavier, Op. V, No. 5. Our edition of this work is also based on photocopies of the autograph in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz.

Compared to the works already mentioned the Sonatina K. 547 appears to mark a return stylistically to 1764, the beginning of Mozart’s development as a composer of violin sonatas. In the manuscript cata- logue the work is entered with the date 10 July 1788: “A little Clavier Sonata – for Beginners with a Violin”. It was published in 1805 by T. Mollo & Co. of Vienna. Besides this first edition which, failing a complete autograph, we have used as the principal source, there is an incomplete autograph clavier part of the Andante con variazioni (Koch-Floersheim Collection, Switzerland) which we have also consulted.

Table of Contents:
  • Sonate in B KV 454
  • Sonate in Es KV 481
  • Sonate in A KV 526
  • Sonate in F KV 547
Sample Pages
Publisher: Bärenreiter
Composer/Author: Mozart, W. A.
Arranger/Editor: Reeser, Eduard
Catalog Number: BA4776