I enjoyed the brief passage in yesterday’s violin concerto that prompted the nickname “Turkish”. I know next to nothing about whether it in fact sounded like Turkish music or not, but I nevertheless enjoyed it. Here’s another piece that claims to owe something to Turkish influences, so let’s give it a listen.
Piano Sonata no. 11 in A “Alla Turca” K. 331
1. Andante grazioso
- Nice to hear a solo piano.
- Theme and variations as first movement. The theme is simple and pleasant.
- Variation 1 is more active. Little rhythm tricks.
- Var. 2 full of triplet arpeggios. Also some funny ornaments in the left hand.
- Dreamy and exotic sounding variation 3. Unusual for Mozart.
- Gentle variations 4, 5 and 6. Almost lullaby-like.
- Things pick up with variation 7. More playful and then virtuosity to the end.
- Lots of variety in this. Interesting hearing the differences between an orchestra minuet and a piano minuet written by the same composer. This feels like there’s a lot more going on than the typical Mozart minuet.
- The trio flows.
- Interjections with the piano playing parallel octaves in forte.
3. Alla Turca – Allegretto
- Ooooooooooh yea. This movement.
- Yet another totally famous Mozart melody.
- Parallel octaves in right hand while left hand strums a chord like a guitar.
- A lot of Alberti bass still though.
- Cadences at end remind me of Entführung aus dem Serail, but I can’t recall the exact music.
Well, I feel silly for not realizing that this was that piece of music. Seriously, listen to the third movement if you don’t know it and maybe you’ll feel silly too. It’s another example of one of Mozart’s melodies becoming a pervasive musical thread in the background fabric of our lives. I’m starting to feel like there’s simply not another composer who occupies a similar slot in terms of the quantity of melodies that occupy this space. Maybe John Lennon and Paul McCarney. Maybe.
Unlike the piece yesterday, I feel like more of the “Turkish” ideas in the third movement were prepared in the earlier movements. The parallel octaves, for example, playing in the earlier two movements sets up the big triumphant melody in the third movement. There were moments in the first two movements that were more vague than that, but nevertheless seemed to prepare my ears for what would come later. Without doing a full analysis, I couldn’t say exactly why.
This one’s a winner though. Until next time.