Haydn, Mozart, & Beethoven: Studies in the Music of the Classical Period

By Sieghard Brandenburg | Go to book overview

8
The Adagio in F Major, K3 Anhang 206a = K6 Anhang A 65*

NEAL ZASLAW

Item 184 in an auction of manuscript and printed music at Sotheby's, London, on Wednesday, 21 November 1990, was described in the sale catalogue as follows:

MOZART (WOLFGANG AMADEUS) AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF THE 'ADAGIO VARIÉE' FOR PIANO IN F MAJOR, K. Anhang 206a/A 65, notated in brown ink on seven systems, each of two staves, inscribed at the head in another hand: 'Adagio variée', and, faintly, at the foot of the page in another hand, 'NB Mozarts Handschrift', with a few small corrections and alterations by the composer, 1, page, oblong 8vo (c. 18 × 24 cms), mounted on card, washed, otherwise in good condition, no place or date (between 1772 and 1774)

This manuscript and composition have been the subject of some scholarly dispute. The date, type of composition and composer have all been debated (see Plath, Einstein and Schmid below). The only point of agreement so far [is] that it is in the hand of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

It is a complete slow movement of some thirty-six bars in binary form, with a heavily decorated melodic line above a slow, gently undulating bass-lane. The harmonic rhythm of the movement is generally slow. The musical style has a 'North German,' or at least 'Berlin' feel to it, not, however, inconsistent with the suggested date of the manuscript (not before 1772 and not later than 1774, see Plath), but not, on the whole, similar to Mozart's style at the time. The slow harmonic rhythm and the insistent chords in bar 13 recall C. F. Abel or J. C. Bach, composers both known personally by Mozart (see, for example, the opening of J. C. Bach's sonata Op. 2 no. I). But the florid, decorative passage-work does not. Alfred Einstein has suggested that C. P. E. Bach might be the author of the piece. But there are few works by Emanuel Bach in which the harmonic rhythm is so static, even in slow movements.

____________________
*
For generous assistance in the preparation of this article, I should like to thank Cliff Eisen, David Fuller, Robert Levin, Erling Lomnäs, Eric Offenbacher, Stephen Roe, and Alan Tyson.

-101-

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