Mozart’s Fantasia in d minor, K. 397

mozart-fantasia

I have always really enjoyed playing Mozart’s Fantasia in d minor and when I was asked to play for the new piano dedication service at my church a couple years ago I knew what I would “dust off” to perform.

The Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians defines the genre of musical fantasia as “a piece of instrumental music owning no restriction of formal construction, but the direct product of the composer’s impulse.”

The Fantasia in d minor has somewhat unusual rhythm, constantly changing tempo (seven different tempi occur throughout the piece), three cadenzas and its apparent lack of any recognizable musical form (as indicated by the “Fantasy” title). Although it begins in d minor, the final section is in D Major.

Mozart composed this, his third and final, Fantasia in 1782 and it was unfinished at the time of his death in 1791.  Even Mozart’s sister, “Nannerl”, who came across the work in 1807, was astounded to have discovered a previously unknown composition of such quality.

In its original form this Fantasia was probability only a fragment of what was to be a larger work. The closing bars which are most frequently performed today originated from an unauthorized print believed to have been composed in 1806 by August Eberhard Müller, one of Mozart’s admirers.

Because it was unfinished, many of the dynamic and pedal markings are nonexistant and left for the performer to choose.

As you can see from these videos, there is a wide range of tempi and interpretation from Frederich Gulda’s 4 minute, 36 second rendition 

to Glenn Gould’s version which lasts for 8 minutes, 22 seconds

Both these composers have added their own ornamentation to Mozart’s original work.

I will be playing from a G. Henley Verlag urtext edition instead of one of the many edited versions available.  I prefer to make my own musical decisions wherever possible.

The version above is originally from http://imslp.org/wiki/Fantasia_in_D_minor,_K.397/385g_(Mozart,_Wolfgang_Amadeus)  I had printed it out as another source to compare with mine, since this one has different dynamic and other interpretive markings.  This version also has 3 notes which differ from the urtext edition.

I also used 3 other sources before I finally decided how I would shape my performance and choose my fingerings.

Some sites that I consulted as part of the learning process: 

I’ve played this for just about everyone I know and on 4 different pianos and it was ready on time!

 

 

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