Piano Trio No.1

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Trio No.1 in Bb major


About this work

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Trio (Divertimento) in B flat major, K. 254 (1776), as well as piano trios by other composers of the same period, often take on the character of accompanied piano sonatas in which the cello doubles the piano's bass line and the violin provides commentary on the piano's melodic line. Compared to Mozart's later trios, this work lacks equality and unity among the three instruments, granting a central role -- particularly in the first movement -- to the piano.

The trio is notable for its use of hemiola (in this case, the feeling of duple within triple meter), a feature Mozart used frequently in his later compositions. This metric shift is used prominently in the first movement, adding a sense of unbalance to the genial Allegro. The second movement, Adagio, allows the violin to assume a more active role; it is the violin, in fact, that introduces the movement's lyrical opening theme. Throughout the Adagio, the piano and violin take turns playing the melody and the winding obbligato that accompanies it. The warmth and simple beauty of the second movement make for an appealing bridge to the rondo finale. The final movement returns the focus to the piano via numerous solo passages and virtuosic outbursts. The mood shifts from a pleasant, rocking feel to a more fiery, dramatic dialogue; in one passage, the meter changes as well, bringing the work to an exciting end.