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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000505.txt from 2004/08

From: Tony Pay <>
Subj: Re: [kl] The making of K. 581
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 17:12:54 -0400

On 17 Aug, "dnleeson" <> wrote:

> Tony Pay and I have been having a discussion about the first printed
> edition of K. 581. He suggests that since the first printed edition has few
> editorial markings, that it is probably reasonably close to Mozart's
> intentions. And his argument is from a clever and observant point of view.
> He says, what most editors do is put stuff in, not take stuff out. So if
> the first edition has few of the things that editors normally put in to
> show their involvement, the absence of them suggests that there were not
> many editorial markings put into the music in the first place by Mozart.
> I suggest that the first printed edition is AT LEAST two generations away
> from the manuscript and probably three, and at each of these stages, done
> by different people (of unknown skills) at different times, things happened
> that cause a complete collapse of authority to that first edition.

My first remark is that if what we have is 'a complete collapse', then I see
no evidence of that collapse. In what we have of K581 I see a visionary work
that has its own logic and consistency.

I know that Dan will say that that's 'just my opinion'.

So, just as an aside, I would like to defend this 'just my opinion'. If I
were asked to justify my view that K581 is a 'visionary work that has its own
logic and consistency', I would have a number of arguments to support it.
And I say that such arguments are what our world is constructed from.

Dan makes great play with what is 'scientific'. But what constitutes our
scientific view is simply *the best arguments we have at the moment*.

Science isn't made out of facts. It's made out of explanatory theories that
include and aren't yet contradicted by those facts.

So I don't apologise for including arguments that support this opinion of
K581. It then has the status, not of an opinion, but of a theory.

> ...things happened that cause a complete collapse of authority to that
> first edition.
> First generation: the creation of a set of performance parts from the
> manuscript in Mozart's hand. On the basis of the typical work of an 18th
> century music copyist, it is wrong to assume that those performance parts
> represented an accurate picture of what Mozart wrote. I don't know what
> they said, but I can make an educated guess that there were wrong notes,
> incorrect placement of dynamics, incorrect intensity of dynamics,
> miswritten rhythms, a goodly number of errors in both articulation types
> and pattern, and finally an uncountable number of changes in phrase shapes.

You have no knowledge of the extent to which these parts were (a) miscopied,
(b) corrected after miscopying. The piece was played by Stadler and others.
That fact argues against your 'educated guess' that they were riddled with
errors. Why wouldn't they have been accurate?

> Second generation: these performance parts, presumably used to play the
> work and thus would have many penciled markings in them, were then used by
> someone to produce something else, which itself was used to engrave the
> plates that made the first printed edition in 1803.

Again, we know nothing of how the 1803 edition was produced. What evidence
do you have that the process was as you describe?

> Because the manuscripts of both the concerto and the quintet were said...

...but on what authority?

> have been lost by that time, it is wishful thinking to presume that
> anything other than the manuscript parts were used in this effort to make
> engraved plates, no matter what the AMZ suggests (which is no better a
> guess than I can make).

I'd say that the authority of the AMZ reviewer is considerable. His
description of, and complaint about, the alterations to the Concerto is
consistent with our understanding of what the piece is 'about' with regard to
the extended register, as well as with the Winterthur manuscript. That makes
what else he says more believable.

> But it gets worse. The clarinet part of the quintet had to be modified,
> and someone was paid to make those modifications.

On your terms, we don't know that. There isn't any real evidence that the
work is for basset clarinet.

Of course, I think it was, from internal evidence -- but you wouldn't accept
that because it's only an *opinion*.

> If it was not modified, who would buy the work? Who could play the work?
> What is the market estimate for a composition that cannot be played by any
> clarinetist other than Stadler, because it required a special instrument?
> So the clarinet part, at least, was modified to an unknown degree, and this
> was probably done in the creation of a score (made from the performance
> parts) which was input to the engraving process.

Nah. Too many assumptions. You can make quite an educated guess as to what
the modifications are, as with the concerto, by following what I called
above, "internal evidence".

> If that is the case, we have THE THIRD GENERATION, namely, the making a
> score from which the engraved plates were made (which can be thought of as
> a fourth generation). How many of you look like your great grandfather?????

Well, if you think that, then the Winterthur MS wouldn't look anything like
the first edition of the Concerto.


> It is inconceivable to me that these two, maybe three, and possibly four
> generations of work took place leaving the first printed edition as
> representing much of what Mozart wrote, at least in terms of articulations
> and phrase shapes.

Well, I don't agree. It seems to me that you underestimate the probable
intelligence of the people -- perhaps Stadler's colleagues -- that did
whatever work was required -- IMO less work than you claim -- as well as
overestimating the number of generations involved.

> While Tony's argument is very strong about editors not taking things out,
> but rather putting them in, it fails on two counts. First is the two,
> three, or four generation problem spoken above. And second it fails because
> Mozart's scores were very much complete.

What we have of K581 is complete by the standards of very many Mozart MS.

Since you mentioned it, compare K498, the MS of which you posted here. There
are very few dynamics, and certainly not the sudden 'f' markings that appear
in editions and are such a problem for modern players to interpret.

(But that's for another post:-)

> If the first printed set of parts of 581 are barren of editorial markings,
> then this anomolous situation did not arise from the absence of those
> markings in the original manuscript score as Mozart wrote it.

Well, thanks for the opinion.

_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE
tel/fax 01865 553339

... Me, indecisive? I don't think I am, do you?

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