The famous pianist Artur Schnabel famously said of the sonatas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) that they were too easy for children and too difficult for artists. Of course, there is nothing easy about music that is so spare that it exposes instantly any digital or emotional deficiencies in the performer.
Favored as a teaching piece by instructors and even titled by the composer himself as “A Little Piano Sonata for Beginners,” the Sonata in C, K. 545, though completed in 1788, did not see publication until 1805, well after the composer’s death. Known to all music-lovers, this sonata is simple only in a superficial sense.
Mozart’s Sonata defies any hints of what we might think of as conventionally “late.” The central Andante, sensitive throughout to delicacy and longing, is the work of the mature artist, but can anyone detect in this Sonata’s sparkle and elegance any trace of finality or mortality?