This performance of “Fantasia in D Minor” is dedicated to and requested by my friend Monique B.
Fantasy in D minor (composed in 1782), left unfinished by the composer, is one of Mozart’s most well- known and most popular pieces for the piano. For me, one of the most interesting things about this piece (besides its unique beauty) is that it was later discovered that the last 10 measures were completed by another musician – but nobody knew it for over a hundred years!
It was only in 1944 – roughly a century and a half after Mozart’s death and the publication of the fantasy – that a scholar questioned the authenticity of the final 10 measures of Mozart’s fantasy. Now we know that the last ten measures of Mozart’s “Fantasy” are not by Mozart, but were composed by his contemporary and admirer, August Müller. Listen for a dominant chord and a long pause just before the final 10 measures – that’s where Mozart left it! Can you imagine the music Mozart would have written had he lived past the age of 35!
You may notice that the keyboard that I am playing has rows of lights above the keys. That’s because for this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates (in this case) a sound which was sampled from a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano. Try listening to it with a good set of headphones!
Another interesting fact: I recently discovered that I play it very differently than any recordings I have come across. Over the years, since I don’t remember ever trying to learn it from actually listening to the piece (we didn’t have digital recordings and internet searching in those days), but just by sight reading it, I’ve sort of conducted myself, and inadvertently come up with a very different from any other traditional recordings. Specifically, I play the first part (Andante) much, much faster than indicated on the score (the opposite of Andante!) The same for the second section (Adagio). Other than tempo, I’ve played certain occasional parts at louder than indicated. I just play what I feel. So if you’re a classic purist – you will be surprised at my version. Please forgive me for not knowing any better!