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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000431.txt from 2004/08

From: "dnleeson" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Source for K. 581 (was K. 581 performance practice)
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 2004 08:57:29 -0400

Your observation is correct.

The mansucript of 581 in Mozart's hand disappeared. (You really
ought to read my novel on the subject of the manuscripts of both
622 and 581. See Ca. 1803 the first printed
set of performance parts were issued by Breitkopf & Hartel. Like
622 the clarinet part was edited to eliminate all notes below
written low e. No trace of what was done by the editor ever
survived. Therefore, not a single edition of 581, neither the
first nor the most recent, is authoritative.

This entire story is about as new as vegetable soup, though most
clarinetists are not very aware of the matter because history is
not generally the thing studied by players. They merely presume
that if you buy a good edition of 581 (whatever that means), what
you get is essentially what Mozart wrote. But the fact is,
except for the authority of the first 4 measures (and for which
we have an incipit manuscript in Mozart's hand), not a single
note, phrase shape, articulation, dynamic, or anything else can
be said to be accurate.

As for having editions that identify editorial emmendations,
there is one: Barenreiter's Neue Mozart Ausgabe. But they can
only create such an edition when the manuscript exists. If, as
in the case of 581, none exists, the entire edition is an
editorial invention. (I'm not being critical here, just factual.)

This issue -- the matter of what we have in the absence of an
authoritative edition -- is a completely different problem from
that which addresses what we should do when we play whatever it
is we have. The first one is the issue of historical accuracy of
the text. The second is the matter of how 18th century
clarinetists played music when it was put in front of their
faces, either authoritative or not.

Now for goodness sakes as well as the size of my wallet, buy my
book. It's fiction, but with respect to the historical accuracy
of what happened to the manuscripts of 581 and 622, it is as
accurate as anything out there. Besides, I'll appreciate the
money. The cover of the book (which you will see on my website)
has the 4 measure incipit in Mozart's hand of the 581, the only
thing that postiively identifies the work as Mozart's

Dan Leeson

-----Original Message-----
From: Andy Raibeck []
Sent: Saturday, August 14, 2004 8:37 PM
Subject: [kl] Source for K. 581 (was K. 581 performance practice)

An observation from all this discussion: it seems to me that,
instead of simply
creating new editions of classical works where the editors insert
their own
performance markings (usually without comment indicating which
markings are
theirs and which are original), the musical community would be
far better
served by the creation of editions which include scholarly
information about
the work, such as a history of the piece, what the performance
practices were,
etc. If they insist on stick their own performance markings in as
"suggestions", then those should be clearly marked as such. Or
include two
copies of the music: one unedited and one with the "suggested"
markings. And it
should be made clear that the "suggestions" are merely that of
the editor, and
should not be construed as definitive.

On a related topic: if the original autograph for 581 is lost,
then from what
source do the editions in use today derive? I tried searching
through the
klarinet archives and saw similar discussion about 622. If I
understood that
correctly, we do not know whether that first edition came from
parts or a
score; so is the point that, because we cannot link the origin of
the first
edition back to an autograph in Mozart's hand (which would have
certainly been a score), we cannot say for sure how much of what
we know today
as 622 was actually written by Mozart? Is the story for 581

If this is the case, then why are these works typically
attributed entirely to
Mozart, without further comment?



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