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#1319092 - 12/05/09 05:08 PM Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty
Nate1125 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 1
Could someone please rank the mozart sonatas and fantasies from easiest to most difficult?

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#1319181 - 12/05/09 07:47 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Nate1125]
Fredil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/25/08
Posts: 216
If you pay me. There are quite a few. :P

(Sorry - I know that was completely useless. :P)

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#1319183 - 12/05/09 07:51 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Fredil]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6035
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
I found this from a different online forum using a quick Google search, and this may be some help:

Quote:
Originally posted by: fsharpminor on Sep 7 2007, 08:01 AM
I play all of them.

Easiest is K545 by some distance, taken as a whole sonata.

Of course there are some easier movements but sometimes coupled with harder ones.

So taking sonatas as a whole, I would say that after K545 look at (in order) K282, K283, K279, K331, K330, K333, K332

The hardest ones are K310, K533, K311, K576, K457 (And the fantasia K475 thats linked with it)

The others all somewhere in between.


This is the link to the original thread.


Edited by Orange Soda King (12/05/09 07:51 PM)

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#1319319 - 12/06/09 12:25 AM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Nate1125]
Mark_C Offline
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I would consider that virtually impossible, although we could sort of put them in "groups."
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#1319337 - 12/06/09 01:16 AM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Mark_C]
John Citron Offline
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Overall I wouldn't consider any one of the sonatas particularly easy. Some are not as difficult as others, and each one has its easy places and more difficult places as well.

Now after saying that, K. 545 in C may look easy, however it is not when it is played correctly with emotion and control. Unfortunately it is played mechanically with the notes banged out on the piano in a boring and lifeless fashion. The other thing too is there are more than two movements to this sonata, and the finale is quite difficult (tricky is more like it).

There's a lot more to this music than the notes. When played correctly these pieces are really a treat to play and hear.

John
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#1319366 - 12/06/09 02:55 AM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: John Citron]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: John Citron
.....K. 545 in C may look easy, however it is not when it is played correctly with emotion and control....

Absolutely. Even if we put it just "musically" or "beautifully" -- the heck with emotion or control. smile

BUT......I'm figuring that the question is on a different level than what we're talking about -- asking about just "sort of" playing the pieces, i.e. just basically "getting the notes" and other barest basics.

On that level, I think we can indeed put the sonatas into sort of "groups," I think maybe about 3 groups, although depending on how much of a splitter as opposed to a lumper we are, we could make it more. The way you're looking at it, which is how I do, they're all so difficult that I could hardly split them.

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#1319383 - 12/06/09 04:02 AM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Mark_C]
Frozenicicles Offline
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Originally Posted By: MarkCannon
BUT......I'm figuring that the question is on a different level than what we're talking about -- asking about just "sort of" playing the pieces, i.e. just basically "getting the notes" and other barest basics.

Getting the notes is very easy with most of the Mozart sonatas. I could probably learn the notes to a movement of any of the sonatas in less than a week (some of them I can even sight read up to tempo), but it takes me significantly longer to get it to sound good. When it comes to Mozart, it's never about just playing the notes, because that's the easiest part. Anyone who knows their basic scales and arpeggios could hit all the right notes with the right timing. Try listening a MIDI of Mozart. eek His music has to sing.

I'm not really an expert on this issue. I'm only learning my first Mozart sonata...previously I was doing mostly Haydn and some Beethoven.

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#1319460 - 12/06/09 10:00 AM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Frozenicicles]
xtraheat Offline
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Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 625
Loc: WV
I definitely do not think that K310 should be one of the hardest ones... That was the first Mozart piece I learned
_________________________
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#1319470 - 12/06/09 10:12 AM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Frozenicicles]
mr_roberts_z Offline
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Registered: 10/09/07
Posts: 204
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I've "played" them all ("played" is a strong word here) tons of times, so this is my ranking from easiest to hardest, fully from a technical standpoint; as has been said millions of times, it's hard to get Mozart to sound right.

K. 545 in C Major
K. 282 in Eb Major
K. 570 in Bb Major
K. 280 in F Major
K. 570 in Bb Major
K. 331 in A Major
K. 279 in C Major
K. 332 in F Major
K. 283 in G Major
K. 281 in Bb Major
K. 547a in F Major
K. 330 in C Major
K. 533 in F Major
K. 311 in D Major
K. 498a in Bb Major
K. 333 in Bb Major
K. 309 in C Major
K. 457 in C Minor
K. 284 in D Major
K. 310 in A Minor
K. 576 in D Major

I think that's all of them...

Note that although fun to play (especially the last movement), 498a is probably apocryphal.

Hope that helped.

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#1319504 - 12/06/09 11:28 AM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: mr_roberts_z]
Rui725 Offline
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Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 953
I think it best to bring out our most child-like side when playing Mozart.

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#1319563 - 12/06/09 01:21 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: mr_roberts_z]
Mark_C Offline
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All I wanted to see was whether you had K. 576 as the hardest, because that's the only thing I can say specifically on this with any conviction and I was curious if you'd have it that way.

Good job. smile
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#1319579 - 12/06/09 01:53 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Mark_C]
Kreisler Offline



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K. 576 is a nightmare. It was on my Junior recital, and I probably practiced it more than everything else on the recital combined. It's a wonderful piece, though, and the finale is a joy when it's pulled off well.
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#1319582 - 12/06/09 01:58 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Kreisler]
Fredil Offline
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Registered: 12/25/08
Posts: 216
K. 284 is hard? Technically, there were only like two portions of that that were of any difficulty to me at all.

The C Major sonata isn't really too difficult; I played that one years ago. I'm not really in any position to comment on the others.

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#1319587 - 12/06/09 02:01 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Fredil]
xtraheat Offline
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Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 625
Loc: WV
What do you all find so difficult about k310??
_________________________
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#1319624 - 12/06/09 03:21 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: xtraheat]
mr_roberts_z Offline
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Registered: 10/09/07
Posts: 204
Loc: Canada
I love how Mozart somehow thought he had written an "easy" sonata with K. 576. It's hellish.

Quote:
What do you all find so difficult about k310??
Personally? The second and third movements. You need to be pretty solid with your leaps to get a good Presto.

EDIT: Keep in mind that it's all relative. For example, Liszt's transcription of the Beethoven's 4th is one of the "easier" of the set, but of course the "hardest" Mozart sonata can't even be compared to it technically.


Edited by mr_roberts_z (12/06/09 03:27 PM)

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#1319688 - 12/06/09 05:33 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: xtraheat]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: xtraheat
What do you all find so difficult about k310??

I agree with him that if we 'must' rank-order them in some way, K. 310 is one of the hardest. I don't think I would have put it quite that high but it's up there.

What's hard about it? I'd say almost everything. We can begin with how to balance the hands at the opening, and in fact how to balance the 3 notes of the L.H., but let's even forget about such subtleties.

In the 1st movement, 2nd theme: That fluttering 16th note figure in the R.H. is quite hard, even if it might seem not so much. The hand can get easily "confused" on exactly when the hand moves or doesn't move, and this can cause unevenness as well as memory lapses. If you have no trouble with that, it means you're good enough that the question of "which Mozart sonatas are harder/easier" doesn't matter that much to you.
Those 16th note figures in the L.H. are hard to play evenly and melodically for anyone except those with particularly good L.H. technique (not to mention real good ears).

The slow movement has some tough little quick figurations, even aside from issues of phrasing and balance which are very hard too.

The last movement.....well actually I would have thought the level of difficulty was obvious. How about just all those leaps and skips in the L.H.?

It's a very hard piece.

P.S. Thanks for asking, I enjoyed going through these details. smile

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#1319690 - 12/06/09 05:37 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: mr_roberts_z]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: mr_roberts_z
I love how Mozart somehow thought he had written an "easy" sonata with K. 576.....

Did he write or say something to make us think that?

If he did, I'd love to take a close look at it -- and my guess is that we could come up with a different interpretation of what he meant.

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#1319701 - 12/06/09 05:53 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Mark_C]
mr_roberts_z Offline
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Registered: 10/09/07
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Loc: Canada
Uh, this is actually quite famous. He wrote about six easy sonatas ["leichte Klaviersonate"] and string quartets he would plan compose for a daughter of Frederick the Great of Prussia, but he only ended up writing the one (K. 576).

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#1319708 - 12/06/09 05:57 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: mr_roberts_z]
Mark_C Offline
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Uh smile smile as I said, I'd like to see it specifically. Just having it said like that doesn't tell me much.

I guess I'll get up off my buttt and go look for it....

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#1319715 - 12/06/09 06:04 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: mr_roberts_z]
Mark_C Offline
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Interim report: smile

Wiki has this, which is similar to what you said:

>>In a letter to a fellow Freemason Puchberg, Mozart wrote "meanwhile I am working on six easy piano sonatas for Princess Friederike and six quartets for the King". K. 576 was the only sonata completed.....<<

As said above, this is just "interim" and of course Wiki ain't no great reference, but judging from that, I would wonder what makes anyone think that the one sonata that he completed had anything to do with those six would-be easy sonatas.

Do I honestly think that paragraph is ambiguous about it?

Yes -- totally.

All we see there (so far) is, he was planning to write 6 easy sonatas, and he didn't; and he completed 1 sonata, which could perhaps have been one of those would-be 6.
The fact that the completed one is so hard would seem to suggest it's highly possible that it wasn't one of the 6 easy ones that Mozart talked about.

Will look into it further. At home I have a book of Mozart's letters and I'll see if the relevant one is in there.
Meanwhile if anyone can quote the actual letter......

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#1319718 - 12/06/09 06:08 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: mr_roberts_z]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: mr_roberts_z
Uh, this is actually quite famous. He wrote about six easy sonatas ["leichte Klaviersonate"] and string quartets he would plan compose for a daughter of Frederick the Great of Prussia, but he only ended up writing the one (K. 576).


Just my speculation--

This one is actually playable by a kid without an octave reach, although there is one spot in the recapitulation that has a huge leap. It feels like Mozart composed it with small hands in mind.
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#1319719 - 12/06/09 06:11 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: AZNpiano]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

Just my speculation--
This one is actually playable by a kid without an octave reach, although there is one spot in the recapitulation that has a huge leap. It feels like Mozart composed it with small hands in mind.

Yes -- that's an example of a plausible "different interpretation."
IMO that would be hugely, hugely different from his having considered the piece "easy."

I think we'd have to look at exactly, exactly what Mozart said.
And of course keeping in mind that we'd be looking (probably) at a translation.

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#1319720 - 12/06/09 06:13 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Mark_C]
mr_roberts_z Offline
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Registered: 10/09/07
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If you want...

Here's an excerpt from Mozart's letter to Michael Puchberg on July 12, 1789 discussing it, with a pretty up to date translation by Cliff Eisen from the book Mozart: A Life in Letters:

"Dearest, most beloved friend and brother - you know my present circumstances, but you're also aware of my prospects; things will remain as we agreed; like this, or like this, you will understand; - meanwhile, I'm writing 6 easy keyboard sonatas for Princess Fredericke and 6 quartets for the king, all of which I'll have Konzeluch engrave at my expense[...]"

I'm afraid I can't get much more detailed than that.

It's simply known that the only one Mozart got around to composing was K. 576 in June of that year.

It's not my intention to try and convince you that Mozart thought this sonata was easy; if you don't believe it, I won't try to present more "evidence".

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#1319730 - 12/06/09 06:25 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: mr_roberts_z]
Mark_C Offline
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Thanks for that.
It doesn't enlighten us on the current question any more than what was said before.

I'm not doubting that Mozart said in this letter that he was writing 6 easy keyboard sonatas, and that he only finished 1 keyboard sonata during that period of time, and that the 1 was K. 576.

What I'm not getting is why you (or anyone) assumes that the 1 he finished was 1 of the 6 easy ones that he referred to in that letter.

From what you've said so far, I'm gathering that you sort of think this is obvious, and that you're perhaps a little annoyed that I'm doubting it.

To me, what is obvious is that nothing whatsoever is implied. In order to think that it is implied, you would have to believe that Mozart was only working on the keyboard sonatas that he referred to.
Also it could well be that K. 576 started out as one of the would-be easy sonatas but got changed into this other thing, and he dropped the idea of any easy sonatas.
Or any number of other things.

Some people might think that what I'm saying is a stretch.
I think it's a stretch to assume the other thing -- first of all because it's absolutely not implied by the content, and secondly because the idea that Mozart would have considered this sonata "easy" is hard to grasp.

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#1319733 - 12/06/09 06:35 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Mark_C]
mr_roberts_z Offline
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Registered: 10/09/07
Posts: 204
Loc: Canada
K. 576 was the only piano sonata he worked on between the time he wrote the letter and his death.

Quote:
From what you've said so far, I'm gathering that you sort of think this is obvious, and that you're perhaps a little annoyed that I'm doubting it
Well, it's referred to in plenty of other sources. And I'm not annoyed at your doubting it, I'm just kind of regretting mentioning it in the first place, seeing as it kind of ruined the thread.

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#1319780 - 12/06/09 08:22 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: mr_roberts_z]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Originally Posted By: mr_roberts_z
....it kind of ruined the thread.

No, what we're doing might wind up straightening out a widespread misconception.

Unless there's some additional basis for it, this idea that Mozart regarded the piece as "easy" may be one of those things that arose as a simple sloppy bit of reading, and just took on a life of its own.

The letter as presented absolutely does not indicate that it is so. I'll be very curious to check the complete letter to see if it seems to shed any more light than does the excerpt.

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#1319786 - 12/06/09 08:29 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Mark_C]
Frozenicicles Offline
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Registered: 09/02/09
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Loc: Canada
If you can read German, many of Mozart's letters and documents can be found here.

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#1319790 - 12/06/09 08:37 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Frozenicicles]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Originally Posted By: Frozenicicles
If you can read German, many of Mozart's letters and documents can be found here.

Well..... smile I don't think my school German will do me much good on that, but if my English-language book of Mozart's letters doesn't have the relevant one, I'll give it a try.

In fact I'll try to see what I can find in that German material regardless, but nobody should expect anything. ha

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#1319816 - 12/06/09 09:06 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Mark_C]
xtraheat Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 625
Loc: WV
I found k310 pretty difficult myself... I was just surprised to find out that my first Mozart piece was one of the most difficult
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#1319830 - 12/06/09 09:22 PM Re: Ranking of mozart sonatas and fantasies on difficulty [Re: Mark_C]
PartyPianist Offline
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Registered: 10/05/09
Posts: 281
I play all the Mozart sonatas and for me K310 is the hardest - by far. There is an open debate amongst professional performers whether K576 is more difficult. The problem with K310 is it needs to be played so fast, xtraheat. Here is my rating from MOST difficult

K310
K576
K533
K332, 333 (just for the final movements)
K457
K330
K457 (plus fanatasy in C minor)
K279 (1st C major should not be under-estimated)
K284 (D minor variations)
K331 (A major variations)
K311 (Hard final movement)
K283 (prefer Grieg's 2 piano version)
K281 (some might rate this higher)
K280 (tricky 3rd movement)
K385 (D minor fantasy)
K282, 330, 570
K545

Even the so called "beginner sonata" should be treated with care. Many professionals overstate the composer's intent (in my opinion), while the final movement should be performed presto in the spirit of an allegretto (use very high and light fingers to achieve this)
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You play it & I'll hum it, but currently rehearsing:

Bach WTC book 2 no 15 G major, no 20 A minor, no 22 Bb Minor
Mozart A minor Sonata K310
Mendelssohn Op 35 preludes and fuges
Busoni Carmen Fantasy
Rachmaninov Bb prelude OP 23 no 2
Lyapunov Humoreske Op 34
and others

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