Fantasy in D Minor, K. 397 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Fantasy in D Minor, K. 397 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is perhaps one of the most beloved pieces of solo piano music ever composed. Written in the midst of the composer's later works, the piece is remembered for its melodic development, structural complexity and profound emotionality. Branching out from the classical sonata form of the time, Fantasy in D Minor represents a high point in Mozart's expansive creativity.

Historical Context

Fantasy in D Minor was written by Mozart in 1782, when he was on his way to Vienna. During this time, Mozart had a high degree of creative output; mainly chamber and operatic work alongside a few piano pieces that he wrote for friends or his own pleasure. Soon after his arrival, Mozart entered a period of financial and spiritual difficulty, pushing him away from music entirely in the years that followed.

This Fantasy is the only piano piece of its kind in a set of three fantasies and two sets of variations, all composed by Mozart in 1782. After only three drafts, the final manuscript proved to be incredibly elaborate and sophisticated for Mozart's time and is now seen as one of his most beloved works.


The Fantasy in D Minor is complex from a music theory standpoint. A unique feature of this piece is the presence of three different tonal centers. At many points during the composition, Mozart's harmony circles around D minor, D Major and B minor. This motivic complexity creates a state of harmonic flux that is simultaneously beautiful and unresolved.

The piece also features a quasi-fugal treatment in the second theme onwards, something that was not common in the works of Mozart. The contrapuntal passages and creative use of different thematic elements give way to a complex and grandiose finale. The piece ends in a fugal stretto passage with a peaceful but monumental resolution, merging various motifs within the key of D Major.


Fantasy in D Minor is widely considered to be among the crowning achievements of Mozart's compositional career. Despite the fact that the piece is a piano solo, it contains a symphonic quality, creating a wide range of contrasting sections and moods. The deft use of both major and minor tonalities, surprise modulations and complex but captivating form lend the piece great depth and artistic value.

The piece is, in and of itself, a symbol of Mozart's creative genius, delivering a captivating and uncompromising large-scale composition that continues to amaze listeners in all of its complexity.


The Fantasy in D Minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart stands out not only as one of the composer's most recognizable pieces of music, but also as a classic piece in the piano repertoire. Combining a unique harmonic structure with a symphonic quality, the piece leaves no doubt as to why it is still heard and studied to this day.

Publication date: 23. 02. 2023