Grand Sextet in E flat Major, Op.47
For Violin, Viola, Cello, Clarinet, Horn & Piano
The Grand Sextet dates from the last decade of Eberlís life. It is unusual for a number of reasons. First and perhaps foremost is the unusual combination of instruments: Violin, viola, cello, clarinet, horn and piano. There were few pieces at this time which called for clarinet and the those which did along with other winds such as a horn were usually divertimenti and did not include the piano. It seems likely that Eberl composed the work with himself in mind as the pianist and used it in chamber music concerts. It is in four movements. The work begins with a stately Adagio introduction which leads to the main section, Allegro vivace, in which the main theme quotes a few measures from the minuet of Mozartís Jupiter Symphony. Next comes an subdued somewhat sad Andante molto which though not so marked is a theme and set of variations. The clarinet is given the lead with the strings supporting. The piano remains quiet for this entire first section but then is a given lengthy solo in which the theme is embellished. A fine set of variations follow. The third movement is a short Menuetto and trio. In the minuet, the strings, horn and piano take over while the clarinet sits out. But Eberl makes for this in the trio in which the clarinet is given the lead for the entire time. The rousing, toe-tapping finale, Rondo, vivace, tops off the sextet.
Anton Eberl (1765-18070 was born in Vienna and studied piano and composition from several teachers, including Mozart. Besides being an outstanding composer, he was a pianist of the first rank and toured throughout Europe. Eberl's works were often passed off by publishers as Mozart's, who apparently did not mind the use of his name on Eberl's compositions. Eberl did mind but was too timid to take action until after Mozart had died. Finally, he published the following notice in a widely read German newspaper:
"However flattering it may be that even connoisseurs were capable of judging these works to be the products of Mozart, I can in no way allow the musical public to be left under this disillusion."
Despite this, his works still continued to be published under Mozart's name. This in itself was a reliable indication as to the contemporary opinion of the quality of Eberl's works but we also have contemporary critical reviews of his works such as that of the influential Berlin Musical Journal which wrote these words in 1805 after a performance of his new Symphony,
"Since the symphonies of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven, nothing but this symphony has been written which could be placed along side theirs."
Parts & Score: $47.95