SALZBURG, Austria – Technically demanding and at times furiously paced, two newly identified Mozart works unveiled Sunday are helping scholars complete their assessment of the maestro’s very early achievements.
The childhood creations – an extensive concerto movement and a fragmentary prelude – provide yet more proof the Salzburg native was a true prodigy. And maybe a bit of a showoff.
“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,” said Ulrich Leisinger, head of research at the International Mozarteum Foundation after a presentation of the pieces in Mozart’s native Salzburg. 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; at the time Mozart was not yet versed in musical notation. But Leopold was ruled out as the composer 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.
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