Mozart and the Keyboard Culture of His Time


Keyboard fragments
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The writings about Mozart’s fragments conflate three distinct types: (1) a work that has been partly lost; (2) a work or movement begun and then broken off before the end was reached; and (3) a work drafted from beginning to end but with not all parts filled in. Mozart left more fragments of types 2 and 3 than any other major composer—approximately one fragment per four completed works.

[top] The splendid sonata movement in G minor, K. 590d represents type (2): Mozart put it aside after reaching the downbeat of measure 106. After his death another hand wrote four measures leading to the recapitulation, indicating that the first 21 measures could be taken over literally, and then providing 15 measures of retransition. The closing 33 measures are found only in the first edition, published in 1805.

[second, third and fourth rows] The Rondo in A major, K. 386, is an example of types 1 and 3. Because the instrumentation was incomplete and the final leaf then missing (although since rediscovered), the autograph was dismembered by its owner, the English composer Sir William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875), who gave away individual pages and parts of pages to autograph collectors.

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[top] Facsimile leaf from the Sonata movement in G minor, K. 590d. Manuscript owned by the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
[second row] A leaf from the Rondo in A major for piano and orchestra, K. 386. This leaf belongs to the Sibley Library, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY.
[third and fourth rows] Facsimile of a leaf from the Rondo in A major for piano and orchestra, K. 386 (recto and verso). The original is owned by the University of Western Ontario.
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continue to The Mozart Myth

From Sketch to Completed Work
From Print to CD
How did Mozart Compose?
The Mozart Myth: Tales of a Forgery
Mozart's Images
Mozart's Images Imagined
What the Score Doesn't Tell Us
The Piano Lesson
The Cult of Mozart
Commodification & Kitsch
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