Among Vienna’s many composers and pianists of the time, Anton Eberl (1765–1807) was the one considered most worthy of comparison with Beethoven. His Sonata in D major, Op. 20, the sixth of seven sonatas for violin and piano, was composed around 1803 and dedicated to the highly regarded pianist Dorothea Ertmann, who was the dedicatee of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in A major, Op. 101, and who some believe was Beethoven’s ‘Immortal Beloved’. Unlike the works of a number of Eberl’s lesser contemporaries, in its duration, formal and harmonic novelty and lively relationship between violin and keyboard, the Op. 20 sonata shares much of the musical ambition and quality of Beethoven’s compositions in this genre. It was published in 1803, the year in which Beethoven’s set of three sonatas for piano and violin, Op. 30, appeared, all produced by the Bureau des Arts et d’Industrie in Vienna.
“To my modern ears, I am struck by the fresh, vital invention to be found here, complemented by an abundance of appealing subtleties and a gift for melody. These ingredients all go towards making this music extremely enjoyable to play.”