Newly-discovered Mozart piece gets debut performance

GregJohnson March 27, 2012 2

What did you get up to when you were ten-years-old?

Running around playing football? Jumping a skipping rope? Composing a new work five years into life as a composer?

At an age when many of us could well have been sprinting about with jelly and ice cream on our faces, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had already been composing music for five years!

A short piece of music, believed to have been composed by Mozart during his early years, has now been discovered and performed for the first time.

Titled Allegro Molto, it is thought to have been written some time between 1767 and 1768, making Mozart just ten-years-old.

The piece was transcribed into a notebook that dates back to 1780, and belonged to Leopold Mozart, the composing prodigy’s father. Mozart Snr was himself a professional composer and teacher who taught his son to play the clavier and violin from as young as three years.

The notebook was recently found in the attic of a private home in Tyrol, Austria, and contains a number of Leopold’s compositions.

Allegro Molto is believed to be by Wolfgang, for one reason, explained music expert Hildegard Herrmann-Schneider.

The name ‘Del Signore Giovane Wolfgango Mozart’ is inscribed on the manuscript, the name used by Leopold when he transcribed his son’s compositions.

Unfortunately, the composition is the only one believed to be by the young Mozart, but it has now been given a debut to modern audiences by Austrian musician Florian Birsak.

Performing the piece on Mozart’s own fortepiano, Birsak said: “It’s not just anyone’s piece, there is already a touch of the great Mozart he later became.”

Discovering a piece composed by one of the most notable composers in history is a huge find, but it is not the first.

In 2006, one of Mozart’s works was found in the archives of the archbishop of Salzburg, the composer’s hometown, and even in the Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg museum archives in the city in 2009.

By the time he was ten-years-old, Mozart was performing to European royalty and became court musician in Salzburg by the time he was 17.