Researchers Unveil Mozart Piano Pieces In Austria - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Researchers Unveil Mozart Piano Pieces In Austria

Posted: Updated:
SALZBURG, Austria (AP) -- Mozart's momentous legacy grew still larger Sunday as researchers unveiled two piano pieces recently identified as childhood creations by the revered composer.

The works - an extensive concerto movement and a fragmentary prelude - are part of "Nannerl's Music Book," a well-known manuscript that contains the Austrian master's earliest compositions, the International Mozarteum Foundation revealed while presenting the pieces in Mozart's native Salzburg.

"We have here the first orchestral movement by the young Mozart - even though the orchestral parts are missing - and therefore it's an extremely important missing link in our understanding of Mozart's development as a young composer," Mozarteum's research leader, Ulrich Leisinger, said.

Mozart, who was born in 1756, began playing the keyboard at age 3 and composing at 5. By the time he died of rheumatic fever on Dec. 5, 1791, he had written more than 600 pieces.

Leisinger said Mozart likely wrote the two newly attributed pieces when he was 7 or 8 years old, with his father, Leopold, transcribing the notes as his son played them at the keyboard.

A series of analyses confirmed the writing as Leopold's, and at the time Mozart was not yet versed in musical notation. But Leopold himself was ruled out as the author of the pieces based on stylistic scrutiny, the Mozarteum said in a statement.

"There are obvious discrepancies between the technical virtuosity and a certain lack of compositional experience," it said.

At Sunday's presentation at the Mozart residence, Austrian musician Florian Birsak, an expert on early keyboard music, played the two pieces on the maestro's own fortepiano for a throng of reporters, photographers and camera crews.

Both works were identified as part of a larger investigation of the foundation's Mozart-related materials, including letters, documents and more than 100 music manuscripts - some in the hand of the composer, others transcribed by contemporaries.

While "Nannerl's Music Book" has been in the foundation's hands for more than a century, the pieces were considered anonymous creations until Leisinger and his team took a closer look.

"These two pieces struck us because they were so extravagant," Leisinger said, adding that the two works share a number of similarities but that the prelude - believed to have been written after the concerto movement - was "much more refined."

"One could almost get the impression that Leopold said to his son, 'look, you've written this crazy concerto movement, try to do it better, a little bit more concise,' and as a result we ended up with this prelude-like movement," he said.

Posthumous discoveries of Mozart pieces are rare but not unheard of.

In September, Leisinger announced that a French library had found a previously unknown piece handwritten by Mozart.

That work, described as the preliminary draft of a musical composition, was found in Nantes, in western France, as library staff members went through its archives. Leisinger said the library contacted his foundation for help authenticating the work.

The latest finds add "important details" to what we know about the young Mozart's work, said Christoph Wolff, professor of music history at Harvard University, who is also director of the Bach Archive in Leipzig, Germany.

"The Salzburg discovery offers significant insight into the earliest accomplishments of Mozart," Wolff said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

The Salzburg-based foundation, established in 1880 and a prime source for Mozart-related matters, seeks to preserve the composer's heritage and find new approaches for analyzing him.

© 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Entertainment NewsEntertainment NewsMore>>

  • Defense says schedules show Cosby wasn't around for assault

    Defense says schedules show Cosby wasn't around for assault

    Friday, April 20 2018 4:28 PM EDT2018-04-20 20:28:49 GMT
    (AP Photo/Matt Slocum). Bill Cosby departs after his sexual assault trial, Thursday, April 19, 2018, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa.(AP Photo/Matt Slocum). Bill Cosby departs after his sexual assault trial, Thursday, April 19, 2018, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa.
    Bill Cosby's lawyers are scrambling to make sure jurors at his sexual assault retrial hear from accuser Andrea Constand's confidante before deliberations get underway next week. 
    Bill Cosby's lawyers are scrambling to make sure jurors at his sexual assault retrial hear from accuser Andrea Constand's confidante before deliberations get underway next week. 
  • Chris Borland quit NFL, now helps those in retirement

    Chris Borland quit NFL, now helps those in retirement

    Friday, April 20 2018 4:27 PM EDT2018-04-20 20:27:57 GMT
    (Rich Saal/The State Journal-Register via AP, File). FILE - In this March 1, 2018, file photo, Chris Borland, a former NFL linebacker and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year at Wisconsin, testifies before the Illinois House Mental Health Committee hea...(Rich Saal/The State Journal-Register via AP, File). FILE - In this March 1, 2018, file photo, Chris Borland, a former NFL linebacker and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year at Wisconsin, testifies before the Illinois House Mental Health Committee hea...
    Chris Borland knows all about the challenges of early retirement, having stepped away from a promising football career after one year because of concerns over head injuries. 
    Chris Borland knows all about the challenges of early retirement, having stepped away from a promising football career after one year because of concerns over head injuries. 
  • Sarah Jessica Parker calls Cynthia Nixon's run 'exciting'

    Sarah Jessica Parker calls Cynthia Nixon's run 'exciting'

    Friday, April 20 2018 4:24 PM EDT2018-04-20 20:24:06 GMT
    (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP). Sarah Jessica Parker, left, and Jacqueline Bisset attend the screening for "Blue Night" during the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival at the SVA Theatre on Thursday, April 19, 2018, in New York.(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP). Sarah Jessica Parker, left, and Jacqueline Bisset attend the screening for "Blue Night" during the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival at the SVA Theatre on Thursday, April 19, 2018, in New York.
    Cynthia Nixon's quest for the governorship of New York state has at least one high-profile fan excited _ Sarah Jessica Parker. 
    Cynthia Nixon's quest for the governorship of New York state has at least one high-profile fan excited _ Sarah Jessica Parker. 
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.