Eberl: Complete Piano Sonatas

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Anton Eberl was born in Vienna June 13, 1765 and was one of the most renowned piano virtuosos and composers of his time, standing comparison with Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Eberl was even “one of Beethoven’s most dangerous rivals” (as Anton Schindler wrote) and in April 1805 Eberl’s Symphony Op. 33 was played at the concert in which Beethoven’s “Eroica” was heard for the first time and public and critics preferred Eberl’s one.

Composer: Anton Eberl
Artists: Luca Quintavalle (fortepiano)

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A Viennese contemporary of Mozart and Beethoven, praised by Haydn and Gluck, and forerunner of Chopin and Liszt: the unique voice of Anton Eberl in new, historically informed studio recordings.

Born in 1765, the same year as Mozart, Anton Eberl also displayed great musical talent from an early age. Only his father’s bankruptcy saved him from a legal career, however, and he threw himself into the world of music with such success that even during their own lifetimes pieces of Eberl appeared under Mozart’s name. The earliest of these (published at least 14 times as Mozart’s, never as Eberl’s) was a set of variations on Ignaz Umlauf’s Zu Steffen sprach im Traume, one of Mozart’s favourite teaching pieces.

After Mozart’s death Eberl made concert tours with his widow Constanze and her sister Aloysia Lange, accomplished sopranos both, and became director of music at the court of the Russian royal family in St Petersburg. Having returned to Vienna, he had a Symphony in E flat performed at the same concert as the premiere of Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ – and contemporary audiences preferred Eberl’s work! Yet his name rather died with him, in 1807, and so it has been left to modern performers such as Luca Quintavalle to revive Eberl for a new generation of listeners.

He was highly regarded in his time as a composer for theatre, but most of his operas are now lost, and his largest surviving body of work is written for keyboard. These seven piano sonatas by themselves should restore his name to a senior rank of Viennese composers around the turn of the 18th century. Eberl made uncommonly ambitious use of minor-key tonalities for his time; there are two G minor sonatas of which the second, Op.39, probably counts as his masterpiece, for its fiery inspiration and breadth of expression.


Piano Sonata in C Minor, Op. 1:
0:00:00 I. Adagio
0:02:42 II. Allegro con moto
0:11:23 III. Andante espressivo
0:17:18 IV. Finale – Allegro molto

Piano Sonata in C Major, Op. 5:
0:22:22 I. Allegro
0:28:06 II. Andante
0:30:08 III. Rondo – Allegretto

Grand Sonata charactéristique in F Minor, Op. 12:
0:32:20 I. Grave maestoso
0:34:12 II. Allegro agitato
0:42:29 III. Andantino
0:44:54 IV. Finale – Allegro assai

Grand Sonata in C Major, Op. 43:
0:53:17 I. Introduzione – Andante molto
0:55:14 II. Allegro con spirit
1:06:59 III. Intermezzo – Andantino
1:09:42 IV. Rondo vivace

Grand sonata in G Minor, Op. 27:
1:15:32 I. Allegro appassionato e vivace assai
1:27:30 II. Andante con espressione
1:36:24 III. Finale – Presto assai

Grand sonata in C Major, Op. 16:
1:44:27 I. Allegro con fuoco
1:53:27 II. Andantino
1:57:28 III. Rondo – Allegretto un poco Vivace

Grand Sonata in G Minor, Op. 39:
2:03:51 I. Allegro appassionato
2:13:30 II. Adagio molto espressivo
2:23:20 III. Allegro agitato vivace assai

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