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Tag: Ludwig von Köchel

a couple of Mozart sonatas

if a symphony is a concerto without a soloist, a sonata
is a concerto without an orchestra, the soloist plays
alone, must deliver the same enchantment 
 
there are nevertheless always therefore the prerequisite
several movements, otherwise no sonata
 
 
the sonata, as we know it, originated in the mid-18th
century with more or less Mozart, earlier the term
applied to other structural notions in music
 
to still my consternation they were often not continuous,
movements were performed indiscriminately among other
eclectic acts in an evening of diverse entertainments, it
was Beethoven who put a decisive stop to that, though
the fame and popularity of Haydn and a few other
contemporaries, Clementi, Salieri, as well of course as
himself Mozart, had probably settled the matter for all
practical purposes somewhat earlier
 
Beethoven among his other theoretical principles codified
that, indeed wrote the book on it, like Moses delivering
the commandments, except that Beethoven presented
horizons in his mythology, miraculous and infinite,
instead of castigation and luxurious sin
 
his understanding of music, still now unsurpassed, is
demonstrable in his works through all the musical
innovations that have since, through all the very ages,
transpired, down to even his bagatelles, musical trifles,
which I’ll approach later, if you’ll stick around
    
 
but it starts essentially with Mozart 
 
Mitsuko Uchida, who is unsurpassed in Mozart, plays
Ludwig von Köchel, who catalogued finally, in 1862,
nearly a hundred years after Mozart’s death, in 1791,
the complete works of the master, other works have
been intermittently added since so that several
revised editions have dutifully followed, lettered a, b,
c according to the revision, the last Köchel number is 
626 
 
 
Mozart’s music is sprightly, effervescent, magical, but
not especially intellectually challenging, I think of toy
soldiers and candy cane, innocence and a child’s delight
in the infinite possibilities of creation, Creation  
 
 
Alfred Brendel  who stands shoulder to shoulder with
the iconic Glenn Gould when it comes to Beethoven,
 
of 18 piano sonatas, the D major K.576 above, was
his last 
 
 
Brendel is too commanding to play authentic Mozart,
though his technique is irreproachable, admirable,
spotless, wonderful 
 
he is Beethoven playing Mozart however, an uneven
fit 
 
comparing the two interpretations is instructive, Brendel
will dazzle, inevitably, but Uchida will make you fly
 
don’t believe me, count on it 
 
 
Richard 
 
 
 
 

piano concerto no 25, K.503, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

 
Mozart in our Western musical tradition is arguably the first
composer to write piano concertos, for two reasons, first
cause earlier there were no pianos, there were only
harpsichords, Bach wrote five wonderful concertos but for
the harpsichord 
 
secondly cause music was coming out of the shadow of the
Church in order to also cater to a more secular audience,
the monied aristocracy, who were looking for status through
art, personal portraits, music to make more illustrious their
already storied houses
 
Mozart is sprightly, unaffiliated, unopinionated, and
supremely talented, it was going to take a Beethoven to
make music more profound
 
meanwhile we have Mozart’s effervescent baubles, his
glistening, incandescent gems  
 
three movements
 
     1. allegro maestoso     
 
     2. andante    
 
     3. allegretto    
 
 
K is for KöchelLudwig von Köchel, the man who catalogued
Mozart’s works chronologically, of which there have been
accumulated after several revisions 626, none of which had
originally been given titles, though later sometimes
posthumously, for instance the “Jupiter” Symphony, his last,
no 41, K551  
 
no one plays Mozart like Mitsuko Uchida  
 
 
Richard