Mozart Violin Sonata IN Bb K454: Transcribed For Cello

Of the 17 Mozart Violin Sonatas that have been transcribed for cello on this website, this is only the second one that has been transposed into another key (the other is K378). The transposition chosen is down a minor third, which takes us from Bb major into G major for the outer movements, and from Eb to C major for the slow movement. Suddenly, the sonata lies so perfectly for the cello that we could easily believe that Mozart actually composed it for our instrument ! The piano score in the new key is also offered.

The downloadable audio play-along piano accompaniment tracks are taken from the YouTube channel PianoAccompanimentConcerts, to whom we offer our thanks.

FIRST MOVEMENT

In the “Easier Version” the high register passages (of which there are not many) have been taken down an octave and many of the tricky ornaments have been simplified. But in spite of this, the speed, lightness and agility required in both left hand and bow means that this is still by no means easy music. The only way to really make it “easy” is to play it at a slower tempo.movt

  1.   Edited Concert Version
  2.     Clean Concert Version
  3.     Easier Version
  4.     Literal Transcription
  5.     Piano Score

Here is a downloadable audio play-along file of a piano accompaniment. A two-beat piano introduction has been added before both the Largo and Allegro beginnings so that we can know when to start:

 

SECOND MOVEMENT

An extraordinary and magnificent movement, this is real “late” Mozart. Complex, expressive and dramatic, with some radical modulations that would not be out of place in the music of Wagner, it often sounds more like an opera aria than a violin sonata.

It is not easy to make an “Easier Version” of this music. Only a very few passages lie in the higher register (especially after our transposition down of a minor third) so most of the “simplifications” simply concern the fingerings.

  1.   Edited Concert Version
  2.      Clean Concert Version
  3.      Easier Version
  4.      Literal Transcription
  5.      Piano Score

Here is a downloadable audio play-along file of a piano accompaniment. A one-bar piano introduction has been added so that we can know when to start:

 

THIRD MOVEMENT

Quite a few significant changes have been made to the bowings (articulations) in the “Edited Concert Version” of this movement. Rather than following Mozart’s slur indications (see the Literal Transcription), bowings which follow the melodic phrasing more closely – and which hopefully reproduce more clearly the way it might sound if it were simply sung or played on the piano – have often been used. This is especially noticeable in the opening theme (see bars 2-3, 6-7, 10-11) and every time this theme comes back.  The same principle applies to the slur changes in bars 118-122. The articulations in the very tricky passage from 251-254 have also been slightly simplified but we could do more, rebowing the passage with even fewer slurs to make it easier. If we do this we are in good company as this is what no lesser violinist than Carl Flesch did in his edition

The only note change that has been made in this movement (apart from the transposition down a minor tenth) concerns the grace note with which bar 72 starts. Now it is an open D string, a major third below Mozart’s intended pitch (interval). This open string is the tonic of the chord and allows us not only to make a very resonant subito forte but also to slur the large interval to the following note on the A-string without any ugly slide.

  1.  Edited Concert Version
  2.    Clean Concert Version
  3.    Easier Version
  4.    Literal Transcription
  5.    Piano Score

Here are two downloadable audio play-along files of a piano accompaniment. The first is a slower version. A two-bar piano introduction has been added to both versions so that we can know when to start: