Piano Sonata No. 4 in E-flat Major, K. 282 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The Piano Sonata No. 4 in E-flat Major, K. 282, composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, stands as a testament to the composer's genius in the realm of keyboard composition. Dating back to 1774, when Mozart was a mere 18 years of age, this piece exemplifies the elegance and clarity characteristic of his early works. Unlike his other sonatas, which are known for their vigorous and dynamic movements, K. 282 unfolds with a serene adagio, followed by two lively and intricate minuets. This sonata not only highlights Mozart's mastery over form and harmony but also offers a glimpse into his evolving musical style during his formative years.

Historical Context and Release

The creation of Piano Sonata No. 4 in E-flat Major came at a time when Mozart was actively experimenting with the sonata form, a popular musical structure of the 18th century. Composed in Salzburg, the sonata was part of Mozart's efforts to contribute to the solo piano repertoire, a genre that was rapidly gaining popularity. Interestingly, K. 282 was one of six sonatas dedicated to Vicomtesse de Lautrec, a testament to Mozart's desire to connect with the French aristocracy and their musical tastes.

This sonata was published in 1781 alongside its counterparts as part of Opus II, marking its official entry into the European musical landscape. The release of K. 282, along with the other sonatas, played a significant role in establishing Mozart's reputation as a formidable composer of keyboard music, gaining him a wider audience and solidifying his place in the annals of classical music history.

Analytical Insights into K. 282

From a musicological perspective, Piano Sonata No. 4 showcases a departure from the typical sonata form of its time, beginning with an Adagio movement instead of the traditional Allegro. This opening adagio is structured in binary form, offering a contemplative introduction that highlights Mozart's lyrical approach to melody and his sophisticated use of chromaticism. The two subsequent minuets further underscore Mozart's compositional prowess, featuring contrasting trio sections that display his adept handling of modulation and thematic development.

The harmonic exploration within this sonata is evidence of Mozart’s early experimentation with form and tonality. The piece stays primarily within the bounds of E-flat major, but it makes surprising shifts to related keys, demonstrating Mozart’s skill in creating harmonic interest and contrast. The intricate interplay between melody and accompaniment throughout the sonata reflects Mozart's deep understanding of keyboard potential, paving the way for the evolution of piano music in the classical era.

Enduring Popularity

The continued reverence for Piano Sonata No. 4 in E-flat Major is multifaceted. Firstly, its unusual structure, beginning with an adagio, sets it apart from other sonatas of the era, showcasing Mozart's willingness to deviate from norms for expressive purposes. Additionally, the sonata's lyrical melodies and intricate detailing resonate with both performers and listeners, offering a rich tapestry of musical ideas that are both intellectually engaging and emotionally compelling. Its accessibility and relative technical demands also make it a favored piece among intermediate pianists, further contributing to its popularity.

Moreover, K. 282 serves as an essential study piece for music students and scholars, offering insights into the early compositional style of Mozart. Its place in pedagogical material and performance repertoires across the globe has ensured its enduring presence in the classical music canon, continually inspiring new generations of musicians.


In summary, Piano Sonata No. 4 in E-flat Major, K. 282, encapsulates the essence of Mozart's early compositional brilliance, blending technical mastery with expressive depth. Its historical significance, coupled with its inherent musicality, has cemented this work as a perennial favorite within the solo piano literature. As both a subject of academic inquiry and a piece cherished by performers and audiences alike, K. 282 continues to affirm Mozart's genius, resonating through the ages as a masterpiece of classical music.

Publication date: 28. 02. 2024