In B flat major and the third of the set Mozart composed, the Piano Sonata (K. 281) opens with an Allegro in sonata form. Almost immediately after the restatement of the four-measure theme begins, Mozart moves away from the tonic toward the dominant, F major. An insistent repeated-note figure is the main feature of the secondary theme, which quickly gives way to a trilled closing motive. After a harmonically daring development section we hear one of Mozart's most predictable recapitulations, tracing the exposition in full and resolving everything to the tonic before closing without a coda.
Marked Andante amoroso, the slow movement is in sonata form with a brief development. A large leap at the beginning of the secondary theme contrasts with the descending scale that makes up the first theme. Trills and sudden dynamic contrasts inject intensity into an otherwise serene atmosphere that pervades the entire movement. As in the Allegro, the recapitulation follows exactly the path of the exposition, except for the modifications necessary to remain in the tonic, E flat major. The movement closes without a coda.
The concluding Rondeau (or rondo is infused with elements of sonata form. The first episode (section B) is on the dominant, F major, thus preparing the way for the first (and only partial) return of the rondo theme. In the manner of a recapitulation, this same episode returns nearly in full and resolved to the tonic just before the last statement of the rondo and the close of the movement.
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