Recorded on 10/19/2004, uploaded on 01/12/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
tours dominated the life of Mozart between the years of 1762 and 1779.
While the purpose of these journeys was primarily mercenary, the tours also
gave the young Wolfgang opportunity to encounter a more cosmopolitan
perspective of musical developments than what was normally available to him at
home in Salzburg. During his last tour, he became acquainted with six
"duets" for harpsichord and violin by Joseph Schuster of Dresden. Mozart
was impressed with their structure in that the keyboard and violin form a true
partnership rather than the earlier practice of one instrument accompanying the
other. He composed a set of six of his own sonatas for piano and violin,
K. 301-306, which was published in Paris in November of 1778. The
passionate character of the fifth work of this group, the Sonata in e minor, K.
304 (1778) is unique among Mozart's works. It is important to note that the
composer's mother suffered her last illness and death in Paris around the time
of the composition of this two-movement piece. The octaves of the opening
establish a stark mood, followed by many contrasts of forte and piano, and
syncopated and drumming-type passages. The more peaceful minuet brightens
a bit with the major key of the trio, but turbulence returns for the close. Lei Hou
The two-movement sonata opens in an austere manner with a
plaintive melody given in octaves by the two instruments. Following an intense
outburst of grief, the melody is repeated again in the violin, with the special
indication "espressivo," over a somber harmonic accompaniment in the
piano. The second theme, though shifting to the key of the relative major,
offers little in the way consolation and one can sense the dark cloud of the
opening theme still overhead. Though well structured, the movement's sonata
form seems at times that it will inevitably crack under its emotional strain.
Interestingly, the recapitulation, after firmly grounding itself in the tonic
key, comes to a close with a half cadence. A brief coda necessarily concludes
the movement with a passage very similar to the closing of the first theme
during the exposition.
The final movement, marked Tempo di Menuetto, comes
off as resigned melancholy in the wake of the emotional first movement. Its
languid melody is restrained but also of entrancing beauty, making the finale
the better of the two movements. A brief moment of consolation is reached in
the E major trio section. The chorale-like melody sounds like a solemn hymn and
its subsequent repetition in the violin is quite tender. The respite is only
temporary and a truncated restatement of the opening E minor section brings the
sonata to a close. Joseph DuBose
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
Lei is a second violinist with the Chicago Symphony - has been there for some time. I have not seen her in over ten years. Time flies. Lovely tone.
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