Rosenfinger Virtual Concert Hall - Insider Programme 2


Mozart's and Beethoven's Sonata-Forms: some very special structures




Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sonata K. 282

Antonio Tarallo, piano


Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonatas op. 13, op. 90, op. 110

Fabio Grasso, piano




Mozart’s Sonata K.282 (1774) is a fairly atypical Sonata, beginning by an Adagio, that however has an absolutely complete and independent architecture of Sonata-Form, though very simple, without any introductory meaning (like the slow prologues of some Symphonies).

This beginning is in a certain sense a reminiscence of some previous baroque macroforms, which began normally by slow movements. Therefore the interpretative choice to play varied agreements in the repeated sections appears particularly appropriate to this context.

The second movement is also tending to baroque, with his Bachian alternance of Menuet I and II, two pieces with equal hierarchic position, unlike the dominance of the fully classical Menuets or Scherzi on their Trios; and actually, the second “enclosed” Menuet  presents a dialectic relation between tonic and dominant even more developed than the first “enclosing” Menuet.

Only the final Allegro has a typical form of the style of the “young” Mozart, a perfect Sonata-form with simple and short themeatic groups, and very linear connecting proceedings between a group and another.



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sonata K. 282. Antonio Tarallo, piano. Live performance





Menuet I and II








Beethoven's Sonata op. 13 is the first Sonata with a slow prologue to the first movement. It's an extremely important formal innovation, even in consideration of the use of this Grave as introduction of the development and of the Coda: the permanent integration of the introductory episode in the Sonata-Forms is a step definitively accomplished only several years after the composition of this extraordinarily foreseeing piece (1798).

The strong contrast between this Grave and the agitated Allegro is one of the most important factors that give to this Sonata the “pathos”, in “Sturm und Drang” climate, which inspired the invention of its title, surely suggested by Schiller's writings.

After the placid lyric oasis of the very famous Adagio, the pathetique atmosphere comes back in the third movement, but with slightly attenuated colours and a sort of more resigned feeling. That is not so different from the relation between the first and the third movement of the Sonata op. 31 n. 2, that you can listen in the Virtual Concert n. 1.



Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata op. 13 “Pathetique”. Fabio Grasso, piano. Live performance


Grave – Allegro di molto e con brio



Adagio cantabile



Rondò Allegro





The opus 90 is a Sonata without the central slow movement: the wonderful “Cantabile” (singbar), “not too fast” (nicht zu geschwind) is in the form of a final Rondò. Its unusual narrative taste and its pre-Schubertian treatment of the melody, after a first movement with dramatic but always moderate and highly expressive tones, introduce to a final section where a deep nostalgic sense seems to prevent the composer from taking his leave of this sweet line, that fades out very gradually in more and more broken interrogative phrases, creating an atmosphere .



Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata op. 90. Fabio Grasso, piano. Live performance


Mit Lebhaftigkeit und durchaus mit Empfindung und Ausdruck



Nicht zu geschwind und sehr singbar vorgetragen





The four movements of the Sonata op. 110 are indeed strongly connected in an unique and extraordinarily unitary macroform. The nervous and sometimes bizarre figurations of the Scherzo have to follow immediately the placid and intensely expressive first movement, and they have to vanish suddenly into the sorrowful abyss of the first Adagio. Finally, the genial alternance of Adagio and Fugue in the conclusive “macromovement”, slightly remembering the alternance of Scherzo and Finale in the Fifth Symphony, reflects the titanic spirit thanks to which the composer overcomes his sufferings through the redeeming force of his art.

The Fugue is one more time a cathartic instrument of intellectual and spiritual elevation from darkness to light, firstly with the ascending tension of the fourth intervals, then with the impressive, dynamic and rhythmic crescendo of the section “poi e poi di nuovo vivente”- whose beginning by inverted intervals is preceded by one of the most effective crescendi of the piano literature, in sound density and dynamics, as connection between the broken breathes of the last Adagio and the subsequent resurrection.



Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata op. 110. Fabio Grasso, piano. Live performance


Moderato cantabile molto espressivo - Allegro molto - Adagio - Fuga