John Collins - Organist, Harpsichordist Iberian Musicologist, Translator

Leopold Mozart Sonata in B♭ major .

Title:Sonata in B♭ major .

Editor:Adriano Cirillo

Publisher:Edition HH. HH292.SOL

Reviewed by John Collins

In addition to being the father of Wolfgang Amadeus, Leopold Mozart is probably best know today for his Violin Method of 1756, which contains important information for players of keyboard instruments, especially regarding ornamentation and other aspects of 18th century performance practice. He composed three sonatas for keyboard, published in different issues of the Haffner anthologies between ca 1756-63.

Even though these publications are headed “pour le clavessin”, this sonata, in three binary-form movements headed Allegro assai, Andante and Allegro, will sound well on the organ or clavichord. Only relatively few articulation and phrasing indications and no dynamic markings were included in the original; neither, of course, are there any extra editorial accretions in this faithful modern edition. Alberti basses are absent, but there are several murky basses along with repeated chords in the left hand in the first movement. The spacious Andante with its repeated lh chords is a felicitous counterfoil to the outer fast movements, and the closing Allegro in 3/8 contains enough rhythmic variety to keep the player focussed. Pleasingly tuneful, this sonata will offer pleasant recreation for the player, and also for the listener. A few passages in minor keys notwithstanding, the sonata flows along happily without to many ripples to disturb the light-hearted serenity. There are a few tricky passages in which the ornamentation will have to be considered carefully but much of the piece is almost sight-readable to someone with experience in this period.

The edition is well printed, but a discussion of possible interpretations of the ornaments and their placing (ie on the beat or, as some figures could have been played, before it), would have been valuable for those players not well versed in their interpretation.

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© John Collins 2013