Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sonata for Clavier No. 8 in A minor, KV 310
Sonata for Clavier No. 15 in F major, KV 533/494
Sonata for Clavier No. 9 in D major, KV 311
Sonata for Clavier No. 14 in C minor, KV 457
Alexei Lubimov, an outstanding Russian pianist who played a huge role in promoting ancient and modern music both in the former USSR and abroad, one of the world’s leading professionals in performing on historical claviers, will give a solo performance at Dom Radio. Alexei Lubimov will perform four clavier sonatas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, grouped into two pairs: an early versus a mature composition. Two sonatas written by Mozart in minor keys form a kind of an archway, pathetic and meaningful.
Sonata No. 8 in A minor, KV 310 was written by 22-year-old Mozart in the summer of 1778 during a tragic trip to Paris. Hopes of finding a permanent employment in the French capital were dashed, the works ordered from Mozart were not paid, and finally, on July 3, the composer’s mother died in his arms. The sonata is composed in an uncommon key, which Joseph Haydn called the key of death. The work begins in a high pathetic spirit, but ends with a Rondo full of confusion. In the middle part, the theme from the sonata of Mozart’s elder contemporary Johann Schobert is quoted.
Sonata No. 15 in F major, KV 533/494 was completed in Vienna on January 3, 1788. Mozart was 32 years old, and several joyful events had just taken place in his life: the premiere of the opera “Don Giovanni” had taken place in Prague the autumn before; in December, after the death of Christoph Willibald Gluck, Mozart had been appointed as the emperor’s chamber composer and musician with a regular salary; finally, on December 27, the composer and his wife Constance had had their first daughter, Theresia. This cheerful sonata has two numbers according to the Köchel Catalogue: its finale is a previously created and partially rewritten Rondo.
Sonata No. 9 in D major, KV 311 was created in November-December 1777, when Mozart stayed in Mannheim, played in the home concerts at the court of the Elector and gave clavier lessons to his illegitimate children. Mozart never obtained the position of the Court Chapel composer and had to leave this very musical city, despite the first true love that he had for an aspiring singer Aloysia Weber, the daughter of the prompter of the Mannheim theatre. Sonata No. 9 was written at the same time as Sonata No. 7, while Sonata No. 8 was born six months later – and in completely different circumstances. All three musical works were published in Paris in 1782 as Opus IV.
Finally, the famous Sonata No. 14 in C minor, KV 457, foreshadowing Beethoven’s “Sonata Pathétique”, was completed on October 14, 1784, dedicated to one of Mozart’s students Theresia von Tratter and published in 1785, together with the Fantasy in C minor, KV 475 as Opus XI. At the time, having no official employment after his flee from Salzburg in 1781, Mozart was living in Vienna as a freelance artist. The composer joined a Masonic lodge, met and became friends with Joseph Haydn. He was very successful as a composer and in demand as a performing musician. Mozart married Constance Weber, and at that time their first-born son appeared in the family. Yet Sonata No. 14 is perhaps Mozart’s most dramatic score for the clavier. This is the composer’s second and last sonata, written in a minor key.
Alexei Borisovich Lubimov (b. 1944) is People’s Artist of the Russian Federation (2003), the winner of numerous international competitions. In 1997, he created and headed the first in Russia Faculty of Historical and Contemporary Performance (FISII) at the Moscow State Conservatory in collaboration with Natalia Gutman and Nazar Kozhukhar, and until 2010 he used to be the dean of this faculty. Since 1998 he has been Professor at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg. Lubimov has created several chamber ensembles (“Music – the 20th Century”, “Moscow Baroque Quartet”, “Academy of Ancient Music” together with Tatiana Grindenko, “Ancient Music Ensemble of the Moscow Conservatory”), as well as festivals of ancient and modern music: “Alternative” in Moscow, festivals of avant-garde music in Riga, Tallinn and Sankt Gallen (Austria). The leading composers of our time, including Galina Ustvolskaya, Valentyn Silvestrov and Arvo Pärt, dedicated their compositions to Lubimov. Lyubimov’s discography includes over 50 discs, including those by Erato, Bis, Sony, ECM and Decca, encompassing classics from Haydn to Chopin on historical instruments and music of the 20th century from Sati to Cage and from Volkonsky to Karmanov.