Mozart Violin Sonata K303 in C: Transcribed For Cello

Although this charming sonata has only two movements, the first movement is almost like two movements in one as it contains both an Adagio and an Allegro Molto (both of which come twice).


The double stops of bars 44-45 and 50-51 (identical) have been taken down an octave in both the “Concert” and “Easier” versions. In bar 165 the second note of the third triplet group has been lowered a tone (to G). For consistency – and artistic preference – the rhythm in bars 75-78 has been applied to the equivalent parallel passage (bars 159-162) which is notated differently in the Urtext. The articulation (slurs) in bar 125, 126 and 128 have been changed to make them not only easier but also identical to the previous parallel versions of the same passage.

In the “Easier Version” , apart from the normal octave transpositions down out of the higher regions, several passages have been seriously altered. Bar 165 has been rewritten to remove the sudden high-speed triplet machine-gun fire.

Bars 27-30, 35-38 and their corresponding parallel passages (117-120 and 125-128) present some typical difficulties associated with transcribing violin music for cello, most notably due to the the difficult combination of rapid slurred string oscillations with fifths and a hand range of an octave (across two strings = a perfect fourth on one string). The hand range problem is eliminated if we are able to use the open string on the bottom note as occurs in three out of the four appearances of this theme (passage). But in bars 125-128 this is impossible and we are therefore obliged to use thumbposition in the Neck Region. This is awkward, and especially so here because the fifths do not occur on the thumb and we need to do some serious squeezing (see Squeezed Fifths).

Certainly in our practice and to a lesser degree in our performance, we can make the string crossing oscillations easier in all four occurrences of these passages by “blurring” the crossings in the following way:

It would be a shame to let these uncomfortable violinistic passages deter us from playing this piece. Apart from blurring the string crossings, there are a few other things we could do to make these tricky passages easier such as eliminating the first or second notes of the trickiest bars (27, 29, 35, 37, 117, 119, 125 and 127), playing the passages with separate bows or playing double notes instead of the string crossings (see the Easier Version).

Edited Concert Version     Clean Concert Version   Easier Version   Literal Transcription

Here below is a play-along piano accompaniment audio to which a one-bar introduction has been added so that we can know when to start. The piano’s theme of the Molto Allegro is unfortunately always missing a tie.



The only note changes in this movement are the conversion of the trill in bars 4 and 88 into a turn.

Edited Concert Version   Clean Concert Version   Easier Version    Literal Transcription

Here below is a play-along piano accompaniment audio: