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Variations on Come un agnello, K460

composer
? June 1784; also K454a; the theme is from Sarti's Fra i due litiganti of 1782; six of the variations are probably by Sardi

 
Now largely forgotten, the Italian composer Giuseppe Sarti (1729-1802) was a leading figure in late 18th-century opera. Mozart met Sarti on the latter’s visit to Vienna in June 1784; he wrote to his father: 'Sarti is a good honest fellow! I have played a great deal to him and have composed variations on an air of his, which pleased him exceedingly.'

The tune for Mozart’s Variations on Come un agnello, K460, comes from Sarti’s opera Fra i due litiganti il terzo gode (While two dispute, the third enjoys). The plot of the opera, composed in 1782, resembles that of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (1786), with its Romantic high jinx among aristocrats and their servants. More importantly, ‘Come un agnello’ was sufficiently well known in its day for Mozart to famously quote it again three years later in Don Giovanni: it is the second of three popular tunes played during the supper scene (followed by 'Non più andrai' from Figaro).

As evidenced by the finale to his Piano Concerto in C minor, the variations form provided a potent vehicle for Mozart’s inexhaustible imagination; this set affirms the same. Mozart transforms Sarti’s straightforward melody over eight beguiling variations into something exceedingly pleasing indeed.

from notes by Patrick Castillo © 2012

Recordings

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos 24 & 27
Studio Master: SIGCD321Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Details

No 1: Thema
Track 7 on SIGCD321 [0'43] Download only
No 2: Variation 1
Track 8 on SIGCD321 [0'41] Download only
No 3: Variation 2
Track 9 on SIGCD321 [0'56] Download only
No 4: Variation 3
Track 10 on SIGCD321 [0'41] Download only
No 5: Variation 4
Track 11 on SIGCD321 [0'53] Download only
No 6: Variation 5
Track 12 on SIGCD321 [0'45] Download only
No 7: Variation 6
Track 13 on SIGCD321 [0'41] Download only
No 8: Variation 7
Track 14 on SIGCD321 [2'22] Download only
No 9: Variation 8
Track 15 on SIGCD321 [4'30] Download only

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