Born Its first movement, Molto Allegro, begins with its

Born on 27
January 1756 in Salzburg, Austria, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was one of the most
influential composers of the Classical Era. Competent in both the keyboard and
violin from a young age, Mozart started composing from the age of five and
performed for royalty. Mozart composed over 600 works in his lifetime, and was
a profound influence in Western Music. Composers that were influenced by Mozart
included Ludwig van Beethoven, who composed his early works in the shadow of
Mozart.

 

The K457 is the
14th in a series of 18 Sonatas composed by Mozart for the piano.
Composed and completed in 1784, during Mozart’s time in Vienna, the K457 in C
minor was one of only two sonatas that the composer had written in a Minor key,
an unusual practice of the time. This hinted that the K457, just like the K310
in A minor (written after the death of his mother), was a highly personal work
to Mozart.

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The K457
follows the traditional sonata form in a fast-slow-fast format. Considered by
many to be one of Mozart’s most important piano sonatas, going forth to inspire
many future composers – specifically, Beethoven’s “Pathetique” Sonata in C
Minor, Op. 13, that is structurally similar to the K457, and is notably similar
in its second movement (in the key of Ab), to the second theme of the K457’s
second movement. The K457 is often paired with the Fantasy in C Minor, K475,
although it is uncertain whether or not Mozart had intended for them to be
performed together.

 

Its first
movement, Molto Allegro, begins with its theme strongly and boldly stated, in
octaves. The theme is developed on before modulating to the second theme at bar
36, in the key of Eb major. Supported by an alberti bass in the left hand, this
theme gives a contrasting graceful feel compared to the first theme. At bar 75,
the firsts theme is introduced again, however, this time in C major. Rapidly,
it develops into the second theme, presented in F minor, before transitioning
to a variation of the first theme, with a running triplet notes in the left
hand, played through from G minor, G major, C minor, G major7, and resolving in
a G major7. Finally, we recapitulate into the first theme again, developing
into the relative major of Ab in bar 121. The movement then develops further
before ending in the key of C minor.

 

The second
movement opens with its first theme in Eb major. The theme elaborates with
stark dynamic changes between forte and piano whilst maintaining its calm and
gentle demeanor. The movement then proceeds to its second theme, in the key of
Ab major in bar 24. The harmony used here likely inspired Beethoven’s second movement
of his “Pathetique” Sonata Op 13. After much elaboration and virtuosic scalar passages,
the movement returns to a minor variation of the first theme, still in Eb major,
ending in the same key. This entire movement clearly uses a tenary form (ABA) structure
that is very easily distinguished.

 

The final movement
begins with its first theme in the key of C minor. Having a “singing” melodic line
on the right hand with accompanying harmonies inn the left hand, the theme is elaborated
on until we arrive at our first transition at bar 45 with the bass Bb notes. Here,
we are introduced to our second theme in Eb major, and after much elaboration, we
return to our first theme in C minor. At bar 143-144, we modulate into the third
theme in F minor, which guides us into a reintroduction of the second theme in bar
167, this time in a minor key (C minor). From here, we see the first theme in C
minor one more time before the piece concludes.