Piano Sonata F major K. 332 (300k)
Urtext Edition, paperbound
Detailed critical commentary
(not available in the printed editions)
available free-of-charge: Download
Pages: 28 (V, 20), Size 23,5 x 31,0 cm
Order no. HN 178
Level of difficulty (Piano): medium (Level 6)
FIRST MOVEMENT The Sonata in F major has a first movement in three-four meter, like K 280 in the same key. The cantabile opening measures are followed by an unusually long answering phrase containing a wealth of melodic ideas, many of which are reminiscent of Haydn (m. 13 ff.). This movement is not a text-book example of sonata form, though the main characteristics – the threefold division into exposition, development and recapitulation, as well as the broad outlines of the key scheme – are present. However, there is a stormy passage in D minor and a modulation to C minor before the entry of the second subject in the regular key of C major. There are also many other details which demonstrate Mozart’s freedom in handling the sonata form, such as the hemiola rhythm in measures 64 65 and the new thematic material introduced at the beginning of the development.
SECOND MOVEMENT The Adagio movement in B-flat major displays Mozart’s skill in varying repeats, and typifies his practice of enriching the ornamentation when preparing a composition for publication. Embellishments, previously probably “improvised”, now became standard when the work was published with the written-out enriched ornamentation.
THIRD MOVEMENT The last movement is a rollicking virtuoso Allegro assai movement in six-eight meter, making higher technical demands on the performer than most of Beethoven’s sonatas. It proves that Mozart must have been the best pianist of his time.
Paul and Eva Badura-Skoda
Suggested viewing on YouTube: Ingrid Haebler
Audio example: Maria João Pires
Deutsche Grammophon 028947752004GB6
The levels of difficulty of the
piano music published by G. Henle Publishers
The levels of difficulty of the piano music published by G. Henle Publishers
|1||easy||Bach, Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, nos. 4 and 5|
|2||Bach, Well-Tempered Clavier I, no. 1 Prelude C major|
|3||Beethoven, Piano Sonatas op. 49,1 and 2|
|4||medium||Grieg, Lyric Pieces op. 12, no. 4|
|5||Schumann, Fantasy Pieces op. 12, no. 1|
|6||Chopin, Nocturnes op. 27, nos. 1 and 2|
|7||difficult||Beethoven, Piano Sonata op. 10, no. 3|
|8||Beethoven, Piano Sonata op. 81a|
|9||Schumann, Toccata op. 7|
Guide to the levels of difficulty
"I don't know what 'difficult' means. Either you can play or you can't" – this was the rather terse comment by the great violinist Nathan Milstein, on being asked about the unbelievable difficulty of Niccolo Paganini's Caprice no. 1.
The relativity of the evaluation of difficulty in music immediately becomes clear. Yet I gladly take up this great challenge, presented to me by G. Henle Publishers. For I am aware of how useful a guide like this can be, both from my own experience as well as that of many colleagues. In particular so as to be able to identify "appropriate" works. For example for music teachers, who teach at very different levels, from beginners to those preparing for music conservatories, but also for all those interested amateurs for whom this guide is intended.
After careful deliberation I have settled on nine levels of difficulty, which I have divided into three groups: 1–3 (easy), 4–6 (medium), 7–9 (difficult). A number of parameters have been considered when assessing the level of difficulty. I have not just looked at the number of fast or slow notes to be played, or the chord sequences; of central importance are also the complexity of the piece's composition, its rhythmic complexities, the difficulty of reading the text for the first time, and last but not least, how easy or difficult it is to understand its musical structure. I have defined "piece" as being the musical unit of a sonata, or a single piece in a cycle, which is why Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier" Part I comprises a total of 48 levels of difficulty (each prelude and fugue is considered separately), Schumann's Sonata in f sharp minor op.11 only has a single number. My assessment is measured by the ability to prepare a piece for performance.
While assessing the pieces, it became clear that the medium level of difficulty (4–6) is the trickiest. Now and again this means that a piece is judged as a "3/4", even if it only deserved a "3" as far as piano technique is concerned. An example of such a "borderline" case (easy/medium) is Schumann's "Scenes from Childhood" op. 15 Von fremden Ländern und Menschen or at the other end "6/7" part of Bach's "English Suites". And of course within a main category there are also "from-to" evaluations (e.g. 7/8).
Any evaluation of art or music will always be subjective, even if the aim was to be objective. Despite the fact that I have endeavoured to be as careful as possible, I am all too aware that the results of my work can be called into question, and am therefore grateful for any suggestions you might have.
Prof. Rolf Koenen © 2010