Mozart Autographs Online

Monday, December 5, 2016

Today we’re marking the 225th anniversary of the death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and at RISM we have our own way to celebrate the composer. Our online catalog now has around 340 autograph manuscripts, of which almost 50 can be freely viewed online. The catalog can deliver the famous stuff (such as an aria from Così fan tutte, left), but don’t pass up an opportunity to view the following four interesting nuggets up close:

Music for a Carnival pantomime, KV 446 Of the original instrumentation (at least a string quartet), only a first violin part has survived in the material held by the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (RISM ID no. 464001663). Remarks on the part such as “Pantalon und Colombine zanken sich” place the work within the context of the commedia dell’arte.

Serenade in C minor, KV 388 The Serenade in C minor is without doubt one of the highlights in the entire spectrum of chamber music for winds. The original designation “Parthia” was changed to “Serenada” by Mozart himself. The last page of the manuscript, also in Berlin (RISM ID no. 464000706), is missing and was completed in a different hand.

A fugue (not in the Köchel thematic catalog!) The autograph to this piece is held by the Universitätsbibliothek der Eberhard Karls Universität in Tübingen (RISM ID no. 455017882). More precicely, this is only the beginning of the fugure. The rest of it is held in a private collection but a copy of it can be viewed at the Paul-Sacher-Stiftung in Basel.

Incidental music for Thamos, König in Ägypten KV 336a This Berlin manuscript helps you get a good idea how visible external factors help tell the story of the composition of a work (RISM ID no. 464001748). In this case, different paper formats show that Mozart did not work on this piece all in one go.

Image: Secene XIII (after no. 29): “Ah poveretto me” and no. 30: Andante “Tutte accusan le donne” from Act II of Così fan tutte. Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg (D-F), Mus Hs 2350. RISM ID no. 455002350.

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