MOZART: Piano Sonatas, K. 310, K. 330 and K. 533 (Jeno Jando) (Naxos: 8.550445)
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Piano Sonata in A Minor, K. 310
Piano Sonata in C Major, K. 330
Piano Sonata in F Major, K. 533
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756, theyoungest child of Leopold Mozart, author of a well known treatise on violin-playing and amusician in the service of the ruling Archbishop. Leopold Mozart was to sacrifice his owncareer in order to foster the God-given genius he soon perceived in his son. A childhoodspent in successful tours throughout Europe, in which the young Mozart demonstrated hisskill on the violin, and on the keyboard in improvisation and in performance with hissister Nannerl was followed by a less satisfactory adolescence at home in Salzburg.
Mozart's talent was none the less, but there seemed little opportunity at home,particularly after the death of the old Archbishop and the succession of a less indulgentpatron. In 1777 Mozart and his father, now Vice-Kapellmeister, were refused leave totravel, and Mozart himself resigned his position as Konzertmeister of the court orchestraand set out, accompanied only by his mother, to seek his fortune elsewhere. The journeytook him to Augsburg, to Munich and eventually to Paris, but only after a prolonged stayin Mannheim, the seat of the Elector of Bavaria, famous for its musical establishment.
In Mannheim Mozart made many friends among the musicians atcourt, but neither here nor in any of the other places he visited was there a suitableposition for him. The following year, after the death of his mother in Paris, he made hisway slowly back to Salzburg, where his father had found him another position at court thathe retained until 1781, when he found final precarious independence in Vienna. Thefollowing year he married the penniless younger sister of a singer on whom he had firstset his heart in Mannheim and won initial success with his German opera Die Entf??hrung aus dem Serail. There were pupils andsubscription concerts, and chances to arouse the admiration of fashionable audiences byhis skill as composer and keyboard-player in a new series of piano concertos. By the endof the decade, however, his popularity had waned, although there were signs of a change offortune in the success of a new German opera, Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute), whichwas still running at the time of his sudden death in December 1791.
Nothing is known of the circumstances of composition of one ofthe most important of Mozart's earlier piano sonatas, the >Sonata in A minor, K. 310. It bears the date 1778and was written in Paris, and therefore was composed at a time when Mozart had come tounderstand the futility of wasting more time in France, where he felt himself undervalued.
During the course of the summer his mother died, a misfortune with which he was able tobear with a greater degree of maturity than might have been expected, breaking the newsgently enough to his father, at home in Salzburg. The A minor Sonata opens with aprincipal theme of some poignancy, the mood lightened by the C major second subject. Theelaborate figuration of the F major slow movement leads to an A minor final Presto thatfinds room for a brief episode in the tonic major key.
The Sonata in C major, K.
330, was probably written in 1783, either in Vienna, or during the course ofMozart's first visit home to Salzburg, bringing with him a wife of whom his fatherstrongly disapproved. It is clearly one of the sonatas mentioned by the composer in aletter to his father written in June 1784, identified with K. 330, K. 331 and K. 332, andnow sent for publication to Artaria, but already known to his sister. The sonata openswith an operatic principal theme, while its F major slow movement has at its heart adarker-hued F minor section, leading to a final Allegretto.
By 1788, the date of the first two movements of the Sonata in F major, K. 533, Mozart's financialdifficulties had assumed some importance for him. His father had died in 1787, the year ofthe opera Don Giovanni, while in 1786, theyear of composition of the last movement of the K. 533Sonata, Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) had proved a success. Afourth child had been born at the end of December and was to die six months later. Thefirst two movements of the F major sonata bear the date 3rd January 1788, and the finalrondo the date 10th June 1786, catalogued by Kochel separately as K. 494. The wholesonata was published in Vienna in early 1788. The first movement starts with a single-linemelody, echoed at the octave, followed by a second subject that includes an importanttriplet figure. There is a B flat major slow movement and the final rondo, expanded forthe 1788 publication, now includes a cadenza with an element of counterpoint.
Jeno Jando was born at Pecs, in south Hungary, in 1952. Hestarted to learn the piano when he was seven and later studied at the Ferenc Liszt Academyof Music under Katalin Nemes and Pal Kadosa, becoming assistant to the latter on hisgraduation in 1974. Jando has won a number of piano competitions in Hungary and abroad,including first prize in the 1973 Hungarian Piano Concours and a first prize in thechamber music category at the Sydney International Piano Competition in 1977. In additionto his many appearances in Hungary, he has played widely abroad in Eastern and WesternEurope, in Canada and in Japan. He is currently engaged in a project to record allMozart's piano concertos and sonatas for Naxos. Other recordings for the Naxos labelinclude the concertos of Grieg and Schumann as well as Rachmaninov's Second Concerto and Paganini Rhapsody and Beethoven's complete pianosonatas.