Meeting Mozart

It’s been a while since I updated what my list of pieces looks like. When I wrote about it in March, I was working on a Bach prelude, and a few months later, performing the Chopin etude. Since then, I’ve added the Brahms intermezzo and a Scarlatti sonata to the mix – and they’re both, I’m happy to say on their way to becoming polished and ready to perform.

When the topic of a new piece came up, I began to wonder what I’d like to learn next. An etude? A famous piece perhaps? Turns out, I’m drawn towards Mozart. My teacher wanted me to learn a piece that would be a challenge, and add to my technique. A Mozart sonata certainly fit that bill, and it would be nice to do something I’ve never done before – play Mozart.

I know, how could I have played piano for this long and not even tried a Mozart piece? Truth be told, I was a strange (and foolish) young girl. Mozart sounded too “happy” for me and I stayed far far away from his pieces. Thank god I grew up. Mozart does indeed sound happy and playful on the outside, but I find that he can be deviously complex if he likes – and often beneath the surface happiness is a lot of  feeling.

When it came to choosing sonata, I took a week to listen to all his sonatas and see which one I thought was inspiring and something that I would want to play. The Henle Verlag website has a wonderful introduction to Mozart’s sonatas – as someone who was starting from scratch, I found the list invaluable. As I listened to his music, I wanted to make sure that I liked all three movements of the sonata I would choose – there’s no point in only liking one or two of them when I will have to learn all three.

I chose Mozart Sonata in D major, K. 576 which is also the last sonata he wrote. Henle listed his sonatas in order of difficulty and I admit that my heart skipped a beat when I saw that this one’s at the most difficult end. It will be a good challenge 🙂 It certainly won’t be a breeze, but I love all three movements and at the end the sonata will be well worth the effort.

I often think that when we start a new piece it’s akin to getting to know a bit of the composer’s personality and his own feelings. In Brahms’ intermezzo (op.118 no.2), it was impossible to ignore the love in the music he wrote. I think I’ll be getting to know a bit of Mozart in much the same way when I learn his music. And most important, I’m having a blast all the way!

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