Mozart: Shapeshifter K 581

The term shapeshifter is familiar to us from science fiction and refers to a being capable of changing its appearance while retaining its identity. We encounter this phenomenon in music too. All down the centuries popular pieces have been copied again and again by other artists, arranged for larger and smaller ensembles, been broken into fragments, and have gone on to live other lives.

Nowadays we talk about covers. Our musical heritage comprises thousands of such historical covers of famous musical pieces. Many of these are splendid music, gems that do show up on the sensors of our contemporary outlook, which tends to regard non-original work as inferior. Even so, originality is a quality that only since the Romantic period has been held in high regard and viewed as a touchstone of artistic quality.

Terra Nova Collective wants to draw the music lover’s attention to these forgotten arrangements, by putting the original work together with the historical arrangement. This gives you the chance not only to discover something new but also to experience a famous masterpiece from an unfamiliar perspective.

The arrangement for clarinet and piano La Grande Sonate pour le piano-forte avec accompagé d’un (sic) Clarinette ou Violon obligé was published under this somewhat defective title in Vienna by Artaria in 1809. The name of the arranger is unknown and it is unclear what the source for the transcription was. After some years alternative arrangements became available for string quartet, flute quintet with two violas and for piano duet.

— From liner notes by Vlad Weverbergh