Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756 in Salzburg. His musical gift
disclosed itself very early; at the age of 4, he played clavier, his first
compositions appeared in 1761. Soon, he began his concert tours, accompanied by
his father; after first triumphs of the young genius, life turned its darker
side to him. His work at the Archbishop of Salzburg’s court was a terrible
ordeal, and it proved to be impossible to find another job. Mozart was the first
amongst the great composers of the past who had deliberately chosen the
precarious yet independent life of the “free artist”. Since 1781, he lived in
Vienna, where most of his important works were created; he died in 1791.
Works for clavier are quite important in Mozart’s heritage. He was a great
pianist himself, perhaps one of the most eminent virtousi of his time. His
outstanding art, his unique ability for improvisation enchanted audiences
wherever he played. And in his compositions he also gave much consideration to
It should be observed that it was a piano, similar to the instruments of the
next centuries though certainly less sonorous, not a clavichord. Mozart’s vision
of an “ideal” piano is worth mentioning. He wrote about pianos made by Stein, a
master from Augsburg : “.. the sound disappears much better... Even if you play
loudly, the sound dies away almost at the very moment when you press the key,
whenever you hold the fingers on the keyboard or not”. These words, that might
seem surprising to a contemporary musician, throw the light upon the secrets of
Piano sonatas in C major KV 330 and B flat major KV 333 were composed in 1778,
during a trip that Mozart undertook in the hope to find a new job. Accompanied
by his mother, he left Salzburg (the city about which he wrote: “Nobody
appreciates my talent there! When I play or my compositions are performed, it
seems that nobody listens except chairs and tables!”) and, after several weeks
in Munich, Augsburg and Manheim, arrived in Paris. Although fresh impressions,
new people, new experience were somehow interesting and useful for Mozart, the
practical results of his life in Paris were quite disappointing. “If only there
would be some place here where people would have ears, heart to be able to feel,
just some little understanding of music... but I am here among real beasts (as
far as music is concerned)”, - he wrote from Paris. Besides, his mother got ill
and died; he was alone in a strange, almost hostile city. He still couldn’t find
any job and had to return to Salzburg.
At that time, Mozart composed seven Sonatas for clavier (five of them - in
Paris), including the Sonata in C major KV 330 and the tragic A minor Sonata 331
(there are some amazing melodic parallels between the second theme of the finale
of KV 330 and the first theme of KV 331) the famous Sonata in A major with
Variations and Rondo alla Turca KV 310. In two sonatas - F major KV 332 and B
flat major KV 333, the influence of Johann Christian Bach might be found. Mozart
appreciated Bach’s music and valued his good opinion. In 1778, the two composers
met in Paris.
The last of the compositions that are represented on this CD is the Sonata in D
major KV 576. This was the last of all his piano sonatas. He composed it in
Vienna in 1789. It was rather hard time for Mozart: lack of money, debts, his
wife’s illness, deaths of his small children (Constanza and Amadeus had six
children, but only two of them outlived their father) were devastating. “O Lord!
I am in such circumstances that I would never wish to a worst enemy!”, Mozart
wrote to his friend, a merchant and a fellow member of the masonic lodge
Puchberg. In spite of the circumstances, this was the time when he composed “Don
Giovanni” (1787), three greatest last symphonies (1788) a year later, he would
compose “Magic flute”, and then - Requiem...
In July 1789, Mozart wrote to Puchberg in a letter asking for a credit: “At the
moment, I am working on six easy sonatas for Princess Frederica and six quartets
for the King” (King of Prussia; in spring 1789, Mozart made a trip to North
Germany). But only one sonata was completed. It is difficult to say if it can be
called “easy”. Its light and delicate structure is a real challenge for any
pianist, and the deepest sorrow that is felt in the major colour of the second
movement make this sonata one of Mozart’s most interesting works.
In 1790, Mozart returned to his plan of six sonatas, but he wrote only a few
fragments. The D major sonata remained the last one.
Hyekyung Lee, born in Wonju, Korea in 1959 began to play piano at the age of
6. After winning several national music competitions, she had her first public
concert with Seoul Sinfonietta Orchestra in 1970, and 4 years later became the
soloist for the foundation concert of Korea Jeunesse Musicale Orchestra.
Entering Folkwang Music College in Essen, Germany in 1975, she subsequently won
the DAAD German government scholarship, the Folkwang Prize Competition and the
nationwide German Music College Union Competition.
Transferring to Muenchen Music College, she graduated with top marks in 1981.
During 2 years of graduate school, she gave recitals, performed for various
radio programs and earned the Bach Prize at Vianna da Motta International
Competition in Lisbon.
In 1984, Miss Lee returned home to teach at Chung-Ang University as a professor.
Today, Hyekyung Lee is recognized as one of Korea’s outstanding musicians with
her wide concert repertoires from baroque to contemporary. In 1984 she received
the “Critic's Prize” from the Korea Music Pen Club. In 1988 she was selected as
“Musician of the Year” by Dong-A music magazine. In 1993 she received the “Korea
Music Award” from the Korea Music Society. In 2004 she received the “Seoul Music
Prize” from the Korea Music Critic Association.
Hyekyung Lee has performed at Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center in USA, in
Sydney, Vienna, Moscow, Tokyo, Manila and with the Ulster Orchestra in Northern
Ireland. In Korea she plays regularly with the Korea Philharmonic Orchestra and
the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. She has also performed chamber music with the
Colorado String Quartet, the New Budapest String Quartet, flautist Patrick
Galloy and Maxence Larrieu, trumpeter Stephen Burns, Korea’s top violinist Dong-Suk
Kang and the Korean traditional drum quartet Samulnori, among many others. Miss
Lee's career has also brought her in contact with many fine conductors,
including Vakhtang Jordania, Bernhard Gueller, Barry Wordsworth, Sandro
Suturello and Yan Pascal Tortelier.