Mozart Violin Sonata K481

This sonata is presented here in its original key of Eb major.

In the original autograph manuscript, Mozart wrote absolutely no dynamics or expressive indications. Those shown here are taken from the first edition. The “Easier Version” stays always in the Neck Region and the only notes that are changed in that version (with respect to the concert version) are either simple transpositions down an octave or the removal of some tricky ornaments.


Edited Concert Version    Clean Concert Version     Easier Version       Literal Transcription

No notes at all have been changed in the “Performance Version” of the first movement. Missing cues bars 136-138


Edited Version    Clean Concert Version    Easier Version       Literal Transcription

The beautiful second movement has an unremarkable start but once the cello starts singing in F minor (bar 16) it suddenly transforms itself into a gorgeous romantic opera aria in which the piano and cello alternate between melodic protagonism and harmonic accompaniment. In the version offered here, some of the cello’s low register accompaniment passages have been transposed up an octave. This brings these passages into exactly the same register as in the original violin version. There is no added difficulty associated with this octave transposition, but there is the great advantage that it brings the cello out of the “hippopotamus register” of the lower strings into a more lyrical, melodic register. This is especially beneficial for the recurring double stopped passage with which the movement starts: in the low register they just “don’t sound good”, but up an octave they can now sound clearly and beautifully (see Transcribing Violin Music for Cello).

A part from these octave transpositions, no notes at all have been changed in the “Performance Version” of the second movement.


Edited Concert Version      Clean Concert Version        Easier Version     Literal Transcription

In the last movement, each short section of the Theme and first four variations is repeated. This is a perfect opportunity for us to be inventive and imaginative. We can – and probably should – make the repeats more interesting by adding ornamentation, new dynamics etc. Perhaps it was to allow us this possibility of invention that Mozart wrote so few dynamics here? Even in the first edition, the theme and first three variations have absolutely none.

The only note changes that have been made for the “Concert Version” of the last movement are found in the revoicing of the chords in bars 81, 85 and 226-228 (the last three bars).