W.A.Mozart :: Rondo Alla Turca (Turkish March) KV 331

Recording of the complete sonata can be found here.

Although the clavichord as we use it in this recording, is strongly connected to the circles around Bach, and in the case of this instrument, may be even more to those of the children of Bach and the forthcoming tradition, this type of instrument was known and used in Vienna also. There we see the pianoforte gaining ground from the 1780's on (only from then!), but the other instruments as the harpsichord and also the clavichord, remained present in the daily lives of musicians and composers. We'll come back to that aspect.

Mozart's father, Leopold, sold clavichords built by Friederici, and was in regular correspondence with his son about these instruments. When Wolfgang was in Paris in 1778, one of the possible dates and places for this composition (it is not sure when it was composed exactly), Leopold advised his son to look as soon as possible for a good clavichord, in order not to spoil his touch on the harpsichord or pianoforte. If, however, Mozart was able to find one in France, where the clavichord was rather not known, is, to my knowledge, not documented. Interesting quote, nevertheless.

This sonata, according to the NMA (Neue Mozart Ausgabe), written in 1783 (and not 1778 in Paris as was long-time thought), is one of his large, difficult sonata's. it's form is very sonata-unlike, replacing the 'normal' first movement by variations, enlarging the minuet to a composition on its own (for which he could have got inspirations from the work of the Parish composer Schobert) , and ending with a rondo, the famous Turkish march.

The rondo Alla Turca, is often played very fast. The notation however (Allegretto with 2/4) points towards a tempo that is elegant, rather than hasty. Moreover, the original dance of these Turkish Military band (the Janissary bands), is very static, and can be applied almost 1 to 1 to this composition.

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