Inspired by Mozart
A hitherto unknown piece for cello and piano by Mozart? Well, don’t get too excited: the Adagio K580a recorded here by Julius Berger and Margarita Höhenreider is an arrangement of a fragment probably intended for clarinet and three basset horns. Mozart completed its first half, but wrote down no more than the melody line of the second half. The piece is an offshoot of the famous Ave verum corpus K618, and in his booklet notes Julius Berger claims to hear a trace of the same melody in the slow movement of Beethoven’s Cello Sonata Op. 69.
The other rarity here is the sonata by Franz Xaver Mozart, inspired by his teacher Hummel, who had himself been Mozart’s pupil. His Sonata has an attractive slow movement in the minor, but the remainder is forgettable stuff. In the two Beethoven variation-sets based on themes from The Magic Flute, Berger shows himself to be a cellist who really knows how to accompany, and both performances have an admirableness lightness of touch. Less satisfactory is the hurried account of the first movement of the Op. 69 Sonata. But this is an enterprising and enjoyable programme, and well recorded.