MOZART: Piano Sonatas, K. 311, K. 332, K. 545, and K. 570 (Jeno Jando) (Naxos: 8.550446)
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Piano Sonata in D Major, K. 311
Piano Sonata in C Major, K. 545
Piano Sonata in F Major, K. 332
Piano Sonata in B Flat Major, K. 570
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.
The Sonata in D major, K.
311, was completed in Mannheim in October or November 1777 and may probably beidentified with the sonata intended for the two Freysinger girls that Mozart had met inMunich, mentioned in letters to his cousin in Augsburg. Their father had been afellow-student of Leopold Mozart and had something to say about a man usually seen as afigure of sobriety. "Murder will out", was Leopold Mozart's reply to his son'srepetition of Freysinger's reminiscences. The sonata opens with a brightly confident firstsubject and a more delicately contrasted second subject, with characteristic chromaticappoggiature, followed by a central development that explores remoter keys. The G majorslow movement, its principal theme later duly embellished, leads to a final rondo, itsopening theme compared by the Italian composer Alfredo Casella to the principal theme ofthe finale of Beethoven's Violin Concerto.
The well known Sonate facile,the easy Sonata in C major, K. 545,originally described by Mozart as a little sonata for beginners, has enjoyed spurious famein the present century, its principal theme published in the 1940s under the title"In an 18th Century Drawing-Room", a transformation that did the original littlejustice. The sonata was completed on 26th June 1788, the day before yet another letterfrom Mozart to his patient fellow freemason, Michael Puchberg, who continued to lend himmoney, with little hope of its return. The little sonata is of a particularly transparenttexture, with a G major slow movement that has its due share of poignancy and a sprightlyfinal rondo.
The Sonata in F major, K.
332, belongs to the group of three written in 1783 and given to the composer'ssister Nannerl before their publication in Vienna in the following year. The sonatas werewritten either in Vienna or during the course of a summer visit home to Salzburg, duringwhich Mozart introduced his wife to his disapproving family. The principal theme of thefirst movement is followed by a dramatic link with the C major second theme. The B flatmajor second movement allows the principal theme considerable embellishment, before thebrilliant finale.
Mozart's financial difficulties were no nearer a lastingsolution by February 1789, when he wrote out his Sonatain B fiat major, K. 570, which was first published posthumously with anoptional violin part. As on other occasions, the composer opens with a principal themebased on the notes of the major triad, later contrasted with a more lyrical theme. Thefinely wrought E flat major slow movement gives way to a finale of fertile invention.
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.