W.A.Mozart :: Sonata in B flat Major, KV 281
"München Sonata" n°3
This is the third sonata in a row of six of the so called "München sonata's". Six absolute brilliant pieces of which the 5th one, in G major, is the best known today. But they all deserve to be at the front of our book shelf, ready to grab and to be played often. Very often.
With these sonata's, the 19-year old Mozart shows the world his full capacities as a already then mature composer. What always has wondered me, is the question how these works were perceived? Spontaneously, we answer a question like this in a way we perceive the music: great, fantastic, and, seen his age, we would staring at the young genius, both as composer and player (probably), and kneeling down, asking with the deepest feelings of respect for more music like this.
Or something like that. No?
But, why did München not embrace this elegant 19 year young composer full of ambition? Or, later in Mannheim? Or in Paris, or... ?
Here we have a young man, perfectly prepared to act and behave in all circles of society, obviously gifted with a unique musical ability. If music was partly a way of showing off to church and the aristocracy, well, than Mozart would be the perfect choice. And yet, it didn't happen. His letters show us the doubts that arise with the fact that he nowhere finds a place or person that embraces him in a sincere way, meaning: offering him a job that meats his talent.
It is a bit of a deviation of me, to enjoy recreating imaginative reconstructions of such situations, knowing that they are just hypothetical, but with the pleasant consequence that the composer, or the image of him, becomes that of a real person suddenly. I see Mozart entering a room in Müchen with the noblesse on musical field, holding his still wet scores under the arm and waiting patiently to be asked to play something. In this crowded room, full of people, dark, he finally is admitted to sit to the ... yes, to what instrument? That spot needs to be filled in. A piano? Not likely, that's way to early, in 1775. A harpsichord? Possible, why not, very likely even if this was a large reception room. A tangent piano? Why not? That would make more sense, in a way that he added to his score very detailed dynamic markings, making sure that this music was not initially meant for the harpsichord. A tangent piano can. A clavichord... of course.
But than we change the scene. He is not entering this time a crowded room, filled with grey wigs and hoop skirts, no, probably not, this music was for the 'elite', not for the 'crowd'. So he knocks at the door of the leading musician of München, waiting for the servant to open, and handing over first his name card. Waiting in the cold late February early after noon, blowing in vain in his hand to keep them warm. Ten minutes later, he would sit in the 'anti- chambre', hearing deep man voices penetrating the walls, and clearly recognizing the voice of Mister Who Knows. This very very important conversation is still ongoing when Mozart is allowed to enter, as his visit comes rather inconvenient since all these important man had to talk so many important issues through. While the host is the only one that pays attention to young Mozart, leading him to the clavichord, and asking him to play something, but with a clear intonation in his voice that it should not last too long. Mozart nods humble with this head and sit down, starting with the first part of this (to become) third sonata. The clavichord happens to be build by Stein and is of superb quality. The conversation goes on, so the sound of the instrument vanishes in the low frequencies of the male voices. But in stead of playing louder, Mozart plays the repeat of the theme very soft, and makes the rest after painfully long. The conversations stop immediately, every one in the room turns his head to the instrument. And then he continuous, he plays in a way that they never heard, music that the never heard, even not could have dreamt of, and even as they don't want to give in, don't want to show to their colleagues that this music and this performance is breathtaking, they can not avoid listening. Not one single whispering is to be heard. Mozart finishes the first movement and, with a bit of hesitation in his voice, doing his best to cover up his emotion, the host thanks Mozart for his visit and ask him polite to excuse them, since they are all in an important meeting. Mozart leaves, knowing for sure that he hit all of them right in the spot that matters: their heart. But what he doesn't know, and, with his character of someone that really believes the fact that world and mankind are of good nature, is, that all these today long forgotten München musicians immediately decide not to accept a youngster like him. They even don't have to say this, they agree.
Imagine, someone like him on their stage...