W​.​A​.​Mozart, Sonata n°15 in F Major, KV 533​/​494 on clavichord

by Wim Winters

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Ok, in our growing chain of confessions, one more will not make the difference: I underestimated this sonata. Voilà, that is how honest your humble servant is.

Is this sonata that difficult to play? Well, no, I mean, compared to the Clementi we did last time (www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rG_hKp7ADA), and yes, compared to earlier Mozart sonata's, as the München sonata's, of which we did the three first here on YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgf47xyKuZs&index=23&list=PLackZ_5a6IWUOANC_A7XnAs6Ur9WGkz6l).
There are some tricky parts in this work - by the way, I was thinking on starting a series of vlog's with the title: difficulties & solutions, how does that sound to you? - but all in all, this sonata is so very keyboardish (is that good English?), that it is a very nice piece to play. Technically not to be compared to Mozart's last sonata in D major for instance.

No, it is its length that is really challenging. After being more than one year here on YouTube, I thought I'm able to estimate the time and concentration needed for a recording. Tonight? Hmm, Bach's WK, done in one hour... A Haydn sonata, ok, that long, ... A partita of Bach, well, let's eat some steak first... A Beethoven sonata, seven days steak. You know what I mean?
So, last week, a Mozart sonata. Yes, a later one, I know, but still Mozart. Not Beethoven.

O, and if he knew it upfront. We had problems with lights that night. Walls just were newly painted here, being covered with wall paper, so a very little spot was left for the habitants of this house, and that threw us a bit out of our common habits. So, in stead of starting the recording at about 9.30 PM, it was 11 now. No problem, children sound asleep, outside very quiet, so the whole world felt as being mine and that of Mozart!
And we had a good time, both of us, but our chat lasted until 1 o'clock. That long? For a Mozart sonata? Yes, but I soon realised after the first take of the first movement, that this was a new world, with a length of ca 12 minutes. First part only!
As I've shown in our latest video 'behind the scenes' (www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkGFQ0J-OW4), I usually play each movement 3 times, with some additional 'safety' spots, including page turning. So, all in all, we made two hours recording for a sonata that turned out to have full Beethoven allures.

Funny how one keeps discovering new details, new connections, new approaches. That's one of the key elements that makes this profession so attractive...

Mozart wrote this sonata in two times. Or better: he wrote the first two parts in 1788 to complete an earlier (1786) written rondo movement. It is a very special sonata, as the latest sonata's all have some additional element to previous ones. Here, the first part has a very gentle touch of polyphony added to the sonata-style. It is far from a fugue, but clearly inspired on his study and reflections on the baroque polyphony, as he worked out in more detail in pieces like this: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtwpvHnrACM.
F dur feels here as extremely sweet, gentle, open, vulnerable, and to me, that reflects in a movement that cannot be a reflection of hurry. There is a clear feel of strong beat on 1 and 3, but don't fall into the trap of increasing the tempo over the limit where these noble feelings transform in more aggressive ones, as having no time at all to hold still for a moment and enjoy a nice conversation.
The second part is stricter, as if we add a bit of grey to the spring-blue colour of the first movement. What to think about the surprisingly modern chromatic of the third page? We hear on that spot why Mozart was considered in his time as a progressive composer.
The third part again connects to the first one in mood and friendliness. The bridge between bar 50 and 51 (from F major to the dramatic chord in d minor) is one of the tempo indicators for me. One need time in that quarter rest to make the jump to the so contrasting part. Also the 'cloud'-feeling of the section in f minor should, in my opinion, create the special combination of ever-ongoing but at the same time eternal rest.

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released June 18, 2016

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Authentic Sound Brussels, Belgium

Wim Winters (1972) began his musical studies in 1984. At age 13, Wim Winters was awarded First Prize in an international competition in The Netherlands and subsequently decided to pursue a career in music.

He studied at the Sweelinck conservatory in Amsterdam, with Jacques van Oortmerssen (organ) and Willem Brons (piano).

Wim is also involved in restoration projects of historic organs.
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