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A once-celebrated contemporary of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, and a precursor of Schubert in the domain of the lied, Johann Franz Xaver Sterkel (1750–1817) is today almost unknown to the general public. Given the great success of his symphonies at the Concert Spirituel, he was probably the composer most frequently performed in Paris between 1777 and 1779. This famous and highly influental pianist and composer spent most of his working life at the court of Mainz, where his reputation attracted rising young talents like Beethoven and Weber, and wrote more than 700 works, including 400 German and Italian songs. Els Biesemans and Meret Lüthi present a world premiere recording of some of his sonatas for fortepiano and violin, utterly disarming in their charm, inventiveness and refinement.