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 B flat major, Op.10 No.2, is the first known Viennese sonata for keyboard with clarinet, offered as a first-named alternative to violin. The alternatives are included in this edition. It is probably the fourth of his seven sonatas which included the violin and was published with an optional ‘basse’ – doubtless intended to be a part for a cellist – which permits performance as a piano trio. The sonata was composed around 1800 and dedicated to Franz Joseph the Prince of Dietrichstein, an official at the court of Emperor of Russia Paul I in St Petersburg. Eberl spent two periods in that city, 1796-9 and 1801-2, as Kapellmeister, performer and teacher. The work was first published by the St Petersburg firm of Gerstenberg & Dittmar. As contemporary reviewers found Beethoven’s Sonatas Op.12 with violin – works published in 1799 – challenging and ‘overladen with strange difficulties’, so too were the two sonatas Op.10 thought to be overlong and excessively complex. But in its duration, formal and harmonic novelty, and in the lively relationship between the clarinet or violin and the keyboard, his Op.10 No.2 shares much of the musical ambition and quality of Beethoven’s works in this genre.
All seven of Eberl’s Sonatas are published by Edition HH.