The Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K. 331 / 300i, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a piano sonata in three movements. It is uncertain where and when Mozart composed the sonata; however, Vienna or Salzburg around 1783 is currently thought to be most likely (Paris and dates as far back as 1778 have also been suggested).
The sonata was published by Artaria in 1784, alongside Nos. 10 and 12 (K. 330 and K. 332).
The sonata consists of three movements:
- Andante grazioso
- Alla turca – Allegretto
All of the movements are in the key of A major or A minor; therefore, the work is homotonal. A typical performance of this entire sonata takes about 20 minutes.
I. Andante grazioso
Since the opening movement of this sonata is a theme and variation, Mozart defied the convention of beginning a sonata with an allegro movement in sonata form. The theme is a siciliana, consisting of two 8-measure sections, each repeated, a structure shared by each variation. The tempo marking is Andante grazioso (walking pace, gracefully). It is in the key of A major.
The second movement of the sonata is a standard minuet and trio movement in A major. The minuet is 40 measures long, and the trio is 52.
III. Alla turca
The last movement, marked Alla turca, popularly known as the "Turkish Rondo" or "Turkish March", is often heard on its own and is one of Mozart's best-known piano pieces. Mozart himself titled the rondo "Alla turca". It imitates the sound of Turkish Janissary bands, the music of which was much in vogue at that time. Various other works of the time imitate this Turkish style, including Mozart's own opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail. In Mozart's time, the last movement was sometimes performed on pianos built with a "Turkish stop", allowing it to be embellished with extra percussion effects.
The third movement is a rondo in the form A–B–C–D–E–C–A–B–C–coda, with each section (except the coda) being repeated.
- Section A: This section, in A minor, consists of a rising sixteenth-note melody followed by a falling eighth note melody over a staccato eighth-note accompaniment. It is eight measures long.
- Section B: This section introduces new material in a melody in thirds and eighth notes before varying the A section with a crescendo before falling back to piano.
- Section C: A forte march in octaves over an arpeggiated chord accompaniment. The key changes to A major.
- Section D: A piano continuous sixteenth note melody over a broken-chord accompaniment. This section is in F♯ minor.
- Section E: A forte scale-like theme followed by a modification of section D.
- Coda: A forte theme consisting mostly of chords (arpeggiated and not) and octaves. There is a brief piano restatement of the theme in the middle of the coda. The movement ends with alternating A and C♯ octaves followed by two A-major chords.
Relationships to later compositions
The theme of the first movement was used by Max Reger in his Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart (1914) for orchestra. Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo à la Turk" (1959) is not based on or related to the last movement.
2014 autograph discovery
In 2014, a Hungarian librarian discovered four pages of Mozart's original score (autograph) of the sonata in Budapest's National Széchényi Library. Until then, only the last page of the autograph survived. The paper and handwriting of the four pages matched that of the final page of the score, held in Salzburg. The original score is close to the first edition, published in 1784. However, in the first movement, in bars 5 and 6 of Variation V, the rhythm of the final eight note of the bar was altered by various editions throughout time. In the menuetto, the last quarter beat of bar 3 is a C-sharp in most editions, but in the autograph an A is printed. Zoltán Kocsis gave the first performance of the discovered score in September 2014.