MOZART: Piano Sonatas, K. 280, K. 333, K. 457, and K. 475 (Ibolya Toth/ Jeno Jando) (Naxos: 8.550449)
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Piano Sonatas, Vol. 5
Sonata in F Major, K. 280
Sonata in B Flat Major, K. 333
Fantasia in C Minor, K. 475
Sonata in C Minor, K. 457
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 1ess, 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 on I y 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 Palatine, 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, DieZauberflote (The Magic Flute), which was still running at the time of hissudden death in December 1791.
In December 1774 Mozart and his father travelled to Munich forthe staging of the former's new opera, La fintagiardiniera, which was mounted in January with considerable success. In the newyear Mozart w rote a set of six piano sonatas, which were to prove of considerable use inhis future travels. The second of the set, in F major, opens with a theme, the bass ofwhich is inverted to introduce the second subject in a movement that is in the customarytripartite classical form. The F minor Adagio is in agentie siciliano rhythm and leads toa final Presto in which the second theme serves to introduce the brief centraldevelopment.
It was not until August 1783 that Mozart dared return toSalzburg to introduce his wife Constanze to his father and sister. On the way back toVienna the couple broke their journey in Linz, where they were entertained by Count Thunand Mozart, who had no symphony with him, set to work to write a new one. It is thoughtthat the Sonata in B flat, K. 333, waswritten at the same period. It is a work of particular beauty, with an expressive E flatmajor slow movement and a finale of limpid clarity.
The keys of C minor and D minor were used by Mozart for two ofthe greatest of his piano concertos, and the dramatic possibilities of the same keys wereexplored in the two Fantasias for solo piano. The Fantasiain C minor, K. 475, written in May 1785, was composed as a prologue to the C minor Sonata, K. 457, written in the previousOctober. Both works were dedicated to Therese von Trattner, wife of Mozart's formerlandlord. The Fantasia starts with a declamatory figure, which is repeated in ascendingsequence and forms the basis of the initial Adagio. An equally dramatic Allegro follows,with a cadenza leading to a gentler B flat Andantino and a brief technical display, beforethe return of the opening material. The sonata, related thematically to the Fantasia, starts with an ascending arpeggio figure,softly answered. The same figure, now in C major, opens the central development section ofthe movement. The ornamented aria of the E flat major slow movement explores remoter keysbefore its final cadenza and conclusion and is followed by a closing movement that remainsin the dramatic key of C minor and contains taxing moments of hand-crossing that woulddefeat a more corpulent player.
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 has recorded all Mozart's piano concertos and sonatasfor Naxos. Other recordings for the Naxos label include the concertos of Grieg andSchumann as well as Rachmaninov's Second Concerto
and Paganini Rhapsody and the complete pianosonatas of Beethoven.