Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Sonata No.11

Rondo Alla Turk



Composed in 1783 and published in 1784, Mozart’s famous Eleventh Piano Sonata is also known as Rondo Alla Turk, due to its fiery Turkish finale. Consisting of three movements that are either in A major or A minor, the sonata is a great introduction to the mind of Mozart and his enviable style of the time. 


The Music
Movement I 

The opening movement is the longest of the three and explores the theme and variation structure. The siciliana theme is split into two sections, with Mozart repeating themes and crossing melodies to create a rather unconventional sonata structure. All of the themes share the variation element, however, with Mozart experimenting with different ways to create variation. From dynamic changes to editing the rhythm, the themes are moved in a number of ways to create the desired result. 


Movement II

Set as a traditional Minuet and Trio, the bright second movement is largely in A major. The flourishes at the start of the theme add sparkle to the music, with Mozart’s soft touch approach encroaching as the music progresses, 


Movement III

By far the most famous movement of the trio, the finale Turkish March is still known as one of the greatest pieces of piano music of all time. The fast pace paired with the decoration between the hands creates excitement as the pianist runs through the different sections of the piece. Although starting in A minor, the tonality shifts to the major during the central scalic section. The big changes in dynamic also help with the drive of this movement as Mozart adds a heaviness to the louder sections. The energy is thrust into the coda section as the music is wrapped up. The final bars are bold and finish in the home key. 



Ⓒ Alex Burns

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