About this work
Composed in April 1781, the present sonata is one of the last works composed by Mozart while he was in the service of the Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo of Salzburg. Early in March, Mozart, who had only recently returned from Munich after supervising the first performances of his opera Idomeneo, was summoned by the Archbishop to Vienna along with other members of the archiepiscopal retinue. On April 8, the Archbishop held a concert at the home of his brother, Prince Rudolph Joseph Colloredo. Later that night, Mozart sat down to write to his father Leopold: "Today (for I am writing at eleven o'clock at night) we had a concert where three of my compositions were performed -- new ones, of course; a rondo for a concerto for Brunetti Antonio Brunetti, the Archbishop's concertmaster], a sonata with violin accompaniment for myself , which I composed last night between eleven and twelve (but in order to be able to finish it, I only wrote out the accompaniment for Brunetti and retained my own part in my head): and then a rondo for Ceccarelli castrato Francesco Ceccarelli, also in the service of the Archbishop], which he had to repeat." This passage casts interesting light on the status of the violin and piano duo sonata in Mozart's time, making it clear that the violin part was still looked upon as essentially an accompaniment to the keyboard part. Despite this clear suggestion of the dominance of the keyboard part, Mozart's sonatas were in reality increasingly working toward a greater degree of equality between the two instruments. There are few signs of the haste with which the work was composed. Unusually it opens not with a quick movement, but a rather serious Adagio which is followed by an intense Allegro in G minor. The final movement is a theme and variations. The G major Sonata was first published in 1781 by the Viennese house Artaria along with the sonatas K. 296 and K. 376 to K. 380, a set of six issued as "Op. 2." The set also found its way to Paris, where Mozart's previous group of violin sonatas (K. 301 to K. 306) had been first published in 1778, being brought out there by Boyer in 1785.
Curated by Anna Lachegyi, Viola da gamba player and Cellist