W.A.Mozart :: Sonata in F Major, KV 280
"München Sonata" n°2
2015 video description:
This is the 2d of the six so called "München Sonata's" that Mozart wrote in 1775 during his stay in this city.
I sometimes (well... too often) hear or read the remark that Mozart had his ups and downs in his keyboard works, and may be not all of the sonata's are always on the same level.
Well, opinions are what they are of course: opinions, and justified only by that, but I don't get it. As I am exploring these works over and over again, my admiration only increases, and not only that: I feel an ever increasing connection to these works, by digging deeper, and playing it over and over again (for which this YouTube channels is a great opportunity), feeling also emotional stronger attached to what this genius left us.
What is the reason for this (as I see it) misunderstanding?
Hard to say, but from my experience, I can say that with Mozart, it is as with baroque music: you have to look for the detail, without loosing a view on the whole. Articulation, accentuation, creating contrasts, and so on. The clavichord is a dream instrument for doing this, urging both the musician and listener to the essence of expression.
Of course other instruments are as capable for rendering this music (however it is not yet clear for which instrument Mozart intended these sonata's actually: only 6 or 7 years later he would buy his first pianoforte). What you could see as a different approach in this recording however, is the choice for moderate tempi. I do believe that the tempi in the late 18th century might be a little bit faster than half a century earlier, but still based on the 'old' tempo ordinario. We might devote a series of vlog's to this interesting, yet difficult to cover subject.
Here, I'm choosing a tempo for the first movement, that certainly is slower than Mozart at least notated. He writes "allegro assai", and from the bar structure and notation only, you could not justify a tempo that would apply the 'all. assai' to the eight note in stead of the quarter. However, I feel it that way, leaving room for all microscopic elements of expression. And for my feeling, it covers the mood of the piece, which is F Major, sweet, gentle, not rushed, friendly, as if you sit at the borders of a small river in the midst of large green fields on a beautiful spring morning, as it is on this Sunday morning!
2017 video description:
This Mozart sonata in F Major, KV 280, and most of all the middle section of it, is an astonishing early example of what we later will be calling the 'great romantic feelings', as Beethoven will be emerge the world in. Cultivation of pure nature, loneliness, ... no, the thumbnail is made on purpose, it reflects a bit of that feel. Certainly of that middle section, not played as a 'in-between little piece of music', but true to the notation and 18th c tradition, as a true adagio, not stick ones 21st century fear for silence to it, opens a totally new world of emotional expression. Also for me, revisiting this work, it is leaving me with an impression I for sure will think off even in my last days. Seriously, the piece blew me away. Hope you feel it too !
That middle movement...
The set of 6 Munich sonatas, written in 1775, is on its own a mind blowing bundle of music. Young Mozart, experienced thanks to his extensive travels throughout Europe, presented the world with music that had all elements that were in fashion at that time: the gallant style, the Italian cantabile, the structure of Joseph Haydn, ... and on top of that a personality that is not to be expected from a 17 year old guy.
But he did more than that. The awakening of early Romanticism, influenced by poets as Goethe, was something Mozart did not miss upon. In fact, he missed no opportunity ever to built his career, but what he is doing in the middle section - F minor - of this sonata, is more than symbolic alone. The dark feeling of loneliness, expressed by the affect alone, is incredible to experience. So the thumbnail is -to me- far more symbolic than only 'click bait'.
I do believe that the real understanding of an adagio, being very slow (not: standing still, but that is for another time to talk about), is kind of essential in bringing this affect to the surface. Playing faster, as I did in my previous recording on YouTube, few years ago, turns this piece into a nice, but way less deep emotional piece, and certainly not on the level of calling it 'history changing'.
That might be perhaps part of the reason why Mozart's young works are so seldom rated at the level they should be rated at... just thinking out loud.
Hope you enjoy the recording. If you do, please share it with your friends!
Bonus: Live masterclass on W.A.Mozart Sonatas KV 279/280