The Piano Sonata in B-flat major, K. 333 (315c), was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Linz at the end of 1783.
There is no doubt that this sonata was first published on April 21, 1784 in Vienna by Christoph Torricella (along with K. 284 and K. 454, as op. 7). The actual date of composition, however, has proved more difficult to determine. In the first edition of his catalog (1862), Köchel gave the hypothetical date 1779, later clarified by Georges de Saint-Foix (1936) to "Salzburg, beginning of January-March 1779." However, Alfred Einstein, in the third edition of the Köchel catalog (1937), said that it was composed in "late summer 1778 in Paris." This date was maintained even until the sixth edition of the Köchel catalog (1964).
More recently, this date has been invalidated by the findings of Wolfgang Plath and Alan Tyson. On the basis of Mozart's script, Plath assigns the piece to the time around 1783/84, "likely not long before the appearance of the first print." Furthermore, Tyson convincingly demonstrates that the work was composed at the end of 1783, likely in November, around the same time as the "Linz Symphony", K. 425, when the Mozart couple made a stopover in Linz on their way back to Vienna from Salzburg. This new dating also fits stylistic criteria.
The work is a sonata in three movements:
- Andante cantabile
- Allegretto grazioso
A typical performance takes about 23 minutes.
The tune of the first movement is playful and lively. This simple melody is accompanied by the arpeggio-style chords played in the left hand. As the first few bars are established, the level gets higher and eventually restarts from a relatively lower level. The theme is repeated but then it varies and the climax builds slowly and ends with an arpeggio of F Major. The mood softens and a phrase is established which will be repeated 2 times in this key, but varied slightly by key. The first part slowly ends with the familiar arpeggio with the chord played (brokenly) and repeatedly.
The second part is introduced by varying the theme three times which leads to a minor key. It slowly establishes back to B-flat with a small spark that played the theme in minor key for a short time then slowly it builds up to a higher key.
The third part repeats the 1st part but in a higher key with few variations. It ends on the same key with a slight minor key change in the last few bars but building up to the key in time to end the first movement.
II. Andante cantabile
The second movement is an Andante Cantabile in E flat major. The movement opens with thirds in the right hand progressing to the more lyrical theme of the movement accompanied by flowing broken triads in the left hand. It soon modulates to B flat major for a 'minuet like' section. After this, the movement begins to modulate back to E flat major for a repeat of the exposition, however, after the first repeat, just as it seems to settle again in E flat major, the development begins in the G minor. From G minor it modulates to F minor, to C minor, to A flat major, to B flat minor and finally to E flat major at which point the recapitulation occurs. Throughout the second movement, chromaticism is present which occasionally evokes a slight sense of dissonance.
The third movement shows much similarity to the first by chord pattern and by music phrases. The first part starts simply but playfully. The theme is repeated but with the broken chords accompanying the melody. The mood slowly softens but a difficult melody is quickly established. It builds up and ends at a climax.
In the second part the first part is repeated until its course changes to a minor key. It then plays two phrases which will be repeated in different keys. The third part comes in quickly and unexpectedly. It comes to a section where the major and minor keys switch every few bars. It slowly comes back to the major key where it repeats the opening theme for the second time. It continues with phrases adapted from the first movement. Then comes a series of arpeggios which lead to a short pause preceding the final repeat of the first theme with accompaniment variations, ending the piece.
^ This section draws its information from the Preface to the Neue Mozart-Ausgabe IX:25/2, the volume containing the critical edition of this sonata. For more information, see Alan Tyson, "The Date of Mozart's Piano Sonata in B flat, KV 333/315c: the 'Linz Sonata'?" in Musik - Edition - Interpretation: Gedenkschrift Günter Henle, edited by Martin Bente (Munich, 1980): 447-454.
Piano sonatas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
No. 1 in C major, K. 279 · No. 2 in F major, K. 280 · No. 3 in B-flat major, K. 281 · No. 4 in E-flat major, K. 282 · No. 5 in G major, K. 283 · No. 6 in D major, K. 284 · No. 7 in C major, K. 309 · No. 8 in A minor, K. 310 · No. 9 in D major, K. 311 · No. 10 in C major, K. 330 · No. 11 in A major, K. 331 · No. 12 in F major, K. 332 · No. 13 in B-flat major, K. 333 · No. 14 in C minor, K. 457 · No. 15 in F major, K. 533/494 · No. 16 in C major, K. 545 · No. 17 in B-flat major, K. 570 · No. 18 in D major, K. 576
List of solo piano compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart