Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) 3 Transcriptions for Organ
edited by Francesco Finotti [org]
The present edition attempts to bring to life Mozart’s saying: “In my eyes and ears the organ is the king of instruments.
28 pages | 30,5 x 23 cm | 134 g | ISMN: 979-0-004-18227-7 | Softcover
The present edition attempts to bring to life Mozarts saying: In my eyes and ears the organ is the king of instruments. It comprises the Minuet in D major K. 355 and the Adagio in B minor K. 540, two piano pieces from the composers last creative years, as well as the three completed movements of the Piano Suite K. 399 of 1782, in which Mozart was strongly influenced by his acquaintanceship with the music of Bach and Handel. The transcriptions follow Mozarts original musical text as much as possible.
|Menuet in D major (K. 355)|
|Suite (K. 399)|
|Adagio in B minor (K. 540)|
"...He has had a large fortepiano pedal made, which stands under the instrument and is about two feet longer and extremely heavy ..."1 These words by Leopold Mozart, written on 12 March 1785 to his daughter Nannerl in St. Gilgen, confirm Wolfgangs interest in pedal playing. This pedal, built by Anton Walter, comprised about two octaves, the first of which lacked the notes C sharp, D sharp, F sharp and G sharp. Not surprisingly, Leopolds letter dates from a period in which his son was deeply absorbed with the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, whose stylistic influence is inescapable in many of Mozart's works from this time. Nevertheless, it is curious that this interest did not lead to the creation of original organ works in several movements. The familiar pieces for mechanical instruments the Adagio and Allegro for "an organ in a clock" K. 594, the Organ piece for a clock K. 608 and the Andante "for a cylinder in a small organ" K. 616 were all written during the composers last months.
Nevertheless, the inquisitive organist will be rewarded by a look through Mozart's works of the 1780s. In its original setting for piano, the Adagio in B minor K. 540 (1788) sounds as if the composer had intended to add a (pedal) bass to it later, or to improvise one to it. In his memoirs of 1852, Joseph Frank relates with amazement: "The piano became a completely different instrument under his fingers. He had it amplified by means of a second keyboard, which he used as a pedal."2 In its expressiveness, the piece corresponds quite surprisingly to the Andante of the Jupiter Symphony. The organ version, which takes an "orchestral" approach, attempts to breathe life into Mozart's view of our instrument: "In my eyes and ears the organ is the king of instruments."3 The other two works in this volume also undoubtedly owe their existence to stimuli that Mozart obtained in Vienna in 1782. A decisive role was played here by the Bach and Handel expert Baron Gottfried van Swieten, a man whose musical taste was extraordinary for his time. On 20 April of that year, Mozart wrote to his sister: "The Baron van Swieten, to whom I go every Sunday, gave me all the works of Handel and Sebastian Bach to take home with me When Constanze heard the fugues, she absolutely fell in love with them." 4
The enthusiasm for the "Baroque" continues to resonate brightly in the Minuet in D major K. 355, even though the piece was not written until 1789. The Trio, and perhaps some of the additions in the Minuet as well, was written by Maximilian Stadler, a Viennese composer and the future adviser of Mozart's widow Konstanze. Finally, the Piano Suite K. 399, whose fourth movement, a Sarabande, remained unfinished, was actually created in 1782, Mozart's "Bach and Handel" year.
Adapting Mozart's works to the organ is a challenging task for both arranger and interpreter. The voice leading, which winds its way behind the notated text, is often less than obvious. My organ versions follow the original text of the Neue Mozart- Ausgabe as much as possible. Dynamic markings are only included whenever they can be adequately depicted on the organ. The few indications of manuals should only be considered as suggestions for a satisfying interpretation. Additions or variants (labeled "Ossia") that differ from the original text are printed in small type and are also intended as ideas for obtaining the most ideal sounds on the organ.
Padua, Fall 2005
1) The Letters of Mozart and his Family, translated and edited by Emily Anderson, London,
1966, letter 525, p. 888.
2) Deutsch, O.E., Mozart A Documentary Biography, London, 1966, p. 561.
3) Letter to Leopold Mozart of 17 October 1777. The Letters of Mozart and his Family, translated and edited by Emily Anderson, London, 1966, letter 225, p. 329.
4) The Letters of Mozart and his Family, translated and edited by Emily Anderson, London,
1966, letter 447, p. 801.