String Quartet No.1 in E flat Major, Op.13 No.1
Anton Eberl (1765-1807) 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. He wrote well over 200 works and in nearly every genre. The opus numbers given to his works bear no relation to reality.There is no composer whose works were more frequently passed off as Mozart's than those of Anton Eberl. Even more surprising was the documented fact that there was no protest from Mozart against the use of his name on Eberl's compositions. Eberl, a friend and student of the great man, 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."
Eberl's String Quartet No.1 in E flat Major is the first of a set of three which appeared in 1801 as his Op.13. Not only the opus number but also the style of the work are revealing. Based on our research, we believe that this set of quartets was composed at least fifteen years earlier, most probably in the mid 1780s. And while his later works, for example his Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano Op.36 or his Op.47, might well be mistaken for Mozart, this is not the case here, despite the fact that occasionally one hears echoes of Mozart. In most respects, the style is closer to that of Haydn. The first movement, Allegro vivace e con fuoco, alternates between a main subject played over an insistent, pounding accompaniment in the lower voices and a more lyrical second subject which provides contrast. The second movement, Andante maestoso, opens with a majestic introduction. The main theme has a vocal quality, slighly sad, but the second subject is brighter. A very typical Viennese Minuetto, scherzo with an authentic and contrasting Austrian Lšndler comes next. The finale, au upbeat, Haydnesque Allegro, concludes this appealing work.
We have reprinted the original edition of 1801. Though readable and acceptable for performance, it is in no way like a new edition and our price reflects this fact. Both amateurs and pros should find this work of interest.