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Piano Sonata in C minor progress thread


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I am currently working on arranging some more Mozart sonatas since unlike Beethoven sonatas that seem to get me overwhelmed, Mozart sonatas never do that. A few people suggested that I shrink the quartet into a trio in my K 545 arrangement to get a more full sound. I didn't though because save for the second movement, where I would have to do some harmonizations, I saw and heard 4 melodic voices, 2 per hand in the sonata. 

However, I did find a sonata that Mozart wrote 4 years before his K 545 sonata that I figured would be perfect for a trio arrangement, his Piano Sonata in C minor, another well known sonata of his. I noticed that the first movement tends to be where I get the most arrangement mistakes. A few of the triplet passages, I took up an octave to avoid the cellist having to do double duty. The violinist playing eighth notes over a sustained quarter note is one thing, The cellist having to do triplets while sustaining a whole note is a totally different story and is an impossible task. 

Thus, I took some of the triplet passages up an octave. The triplet passages that I took up an octave all involve a cascade from the violin to the viola before the cello becomes the solo instrument for a while. Except for these triplet passages that involve the instrument cascades, I kept everything in the original octave unless it got too low(which was rare) and then of course I would raise it by an octave to keep it in range. I missed a few slurs here and there, I will fix those in the second draft of the first movement arrangement. In the development section, I tended to have the staccato figure in octaves because it was in octaves everywhere else. Even the Coda still had it in octaves, just scattered a bit.

Bars 1-185 are all the bars of the first movement. This is what I want feedback on. Are there any impossible double stops in there? Is there anything I can do about the dynamics to make it sound better? I would love some detailed feedback on what exactly I did wrong so that I can improve the first movement arrangement, and maybe have the entire second movement arranged at the same time(That did happen with K 545, I got feedback on the first movement, I improved the first movement and finished arranging the second movement at the same time).

Here is what I have arranged so far of the sonata:

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A few comments on the playability:

1. viola m98-99—impossible double stop. Swap a note out with the cello

2. viola m167—impossible double stop. You'll have to get rid of one of those notes.

3. cello m184-185—impossible double stop. You'll have to get rid of one of those notes again.

4. You have several slurred double stops throughout. Just FYI, these will turn into slides when played, not slurs.

5. There are a couple of passages (for example, m150-152) with runs through several octaves where you leave out the viola. Consider adding the viola back in for the middle section of those passages.

Overall, nice job!

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The arrangement is great, but I'm going to pick up on some of the fine technical details.

Bar 21: Two very long slurs for the violin. I would consider breaking these up to about half the size.

Bar 23: You have bowed viola quavers underneath a violin slur which might not work. The viola could play portato.

Bar 29: The violin phrase on beat one will lose some momentum because of the bowing. Consider changing the slur to only cover the first beat, with a staccato on the quavers of the second beat.

Bar 51: Give some more of these triplets to the viola.

Bar 98: Impossible viola double stop.

Bar 176: The figure between the violin and viola is interesting, but will frequently lose texture when the viola drops out. There are a couple of solutions such as having the viola up an octave or sharing between the two instruments.

Bar 184: Impossible in the cello.


Mostly a very good arrangement! There are some impractical/impossible parts, and some things which could be better. The biggest problem you have is with phrasing. Were the slurs in exactly the same place in the piano score as you have written here? Mozart's phrases were well written for the piano, but the phrase should be different for every instrument.

The main thing you should ask yourself is whether Mozart's piano sonatas need arranging.

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