Sonata No. 11, "Turkish March" - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Sonata No. 11, "Turkish March" - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is a popular solo piano piece composed in 1783. It is the last of 12 piano sonatas composed by Mozart. The piece is known as the most challenging and difficult of all of Mozart's piano sonatas.

History and Release of the Piece

Sonata No. 11 was written and introduced to the public in 1783 while Mozart lived in Vienna. The piece is one of the popular sonatas in the later part of his oeuvre. It is his only sonata that includes a finale, known as the Turkish March, which has become one of Mozart’s best-known pieces.

The premier performance of the work was in a private home on December 9th, 1783. The original score was dedicated to Mozart’s friend Gottfried van Swieten, an influential patron. It was the only sonata out of the twelve dedicated to Van Swieten, but it was the first one to be performed in public, in 1793 at a charity concert in Prague.

Simplified Analysis of the Composition

The piece is composed in three parts: two movements of fast-slow-fast and one movement of fast-slow. The first two movements make up the opening Allegro, while the final Allegretto features the Turkish March. The first movement is in the key of F major with a subdued character and including a difficult cadenza. The second movement is in the minor mode and features a more serious tone. The third movement opens with a solemn Turkish-style march in C major, with the main theme set against contrasting minor-mode episodes. The piece concludes with a short Allegretto finale.

Why the Piece is So Popular

Sonata No. 11 has become one of Mozart’s best-known pieces for its unique combination of compositional complexity and melodic charm. It is renowned for its dramatic range and virtuosic passages, with its main source of appeal coming from the Turkish March. TheMarch's exotic flavor is created through frequent modulation and the use of heavy syncopated rhythms. These elements combined with its melodic appeal have resulted in the piece being one of the most beloved solo piano works of all time.

Sonata No. 11 is an example of Mozart’s remarkable musicianship and compositional genius. Its technical difficulty and depth of musical expression make it a true work of art that has captivated audiences around the world. Although challenging to soloist and listeners alike, it has rightfully earned its place as one of Mozart’s iconic solo piano pieces.

Publication date: 22. 02. 2023