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This “little” D Major sonata is somewhat the pansy (or violet?) among Mozart's eighteen piano sonatas. It is “little” in dimensions when compared to the two other sonatas in the same key of D Major (K. 284; and especially K. 576). It is very seldom heard in concert; and in piano lessons; too; is played less frequently. Admittedly; it is not enveloped by the tragic gloom of the Sonata in A minor K. 310; nor does it have a wonderfully heartfelt slow movement like the Sonata in C Major K. 309; these being the two works with which it was printed in Paris in 1778. K. 311; however; is pianistically “worthwhile” in many regards; in the opening movement one can practice several standard technical challenges (hand-crossings; effervescent runs; parallel sixths; tremolos at large intervals; etc.). The slow movement (Andante con expressione) hones expressiveness; something that does not always come naturally to many keyboardists (a compositional trick also makes a surprise appearance at bar 25). With its lively 6/8 meter; the finale in turn recalls not only the veritable “Hunt Sonata” K. 576 but could almost have come from the solo part of a Mozartean piano concerto. All in all: a worthwhile challenge; this sonata; which sounds much harder than its technical demands require.
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