Mozart and the Keyboard Culture of His Time

A Forged Letter
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This letter apparently told readers what they wanted to hear: Mozart’s inspiration, genius, originality, creativity—all descended upon the entranced artist as if by lightning bolts from God. Arduous and intensive training, practice and hard work in a lucid state—these exertions were for mere mortals.

The tone of the forgery is markedly different from that of Mozart's actual descriptions of how he composed, such as in letters about Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio). Enough of the contextual details used by the forger to lend verisimilitude are incorrect that they have the opposite effect; for instance, Mozart's father-in-law was dead at the time the letter was purportedly written.

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[top] Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, original publication: August 23, 1815, no. 34, cols. 561-66. [lower two rows] Translation in the Harmonicon: November 1825, no. XXXV, pp. 198-200.
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Introduction
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
Credits
Cornell University Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections Cornell University Library

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