Deutsche Grammophon will release Ninety-Four Seconds of New Mozart, Cho’s interpretation of this small, yet extraordinary work. The world premiere of this piece in Salzburg can also be watched in a shortened version on the YouTube channel of DG as well as on the social media platforms of the Mozarteum Foundation. Images of the original manuscript can be accessed via the digital Bibliotheca Mozartiana of the Mozarteum Foundation, and the Digital Interactive Mozart-Edition (DIME) will provide an edition of the work. Both online offerings are free of charge for personal study, research purposes, and educational use. In addition, the Mozarteum Foundation is publishing a facsimile edition of the new piece on Mozart's birthday, which can be obtained from the museum stores or from book and music traders. The original manuscript of the Allegro in D KV 626b/16 is expected to be on display in the Mozart Residence from Easter.
Rolando Villazón, accentuates its importance: “94 seconds of new Mozart – that’s perhaps not much, but 94 seconds by a master like Mozart can open up an entire musical cosmos.”
The Allegro in D major, K. 626b/16 fills the front and back of a single sheet of music paper in oblong format. The handwriting is hasty, but error-free. The undated composition stems in all likelihood from the first months 1773, according to the Mozarteum Foundation; it thus originated either during Mozart’s third journey to Italy or immediately after his return to Salzburg. A trustworthy annotation of 1844 led to assume that the manuscript was once part of the estate of Mozart’s son, Franz Xaver Wolfgang. Franz Xaver, however, did not inherit it from his father, but rather from his aunt Maria Anna, Mozart’s sister, who apparently kept it as a memento. Peculiarities of style suggest that this three-part dance movement is not an original piano piece, but a keyboard arrangement in Mozart’s own hand of an unknown orchestral work.
Although the composition was hitherto unpublished, it has been listed in the Köchel catalogue of Mozart’s works, since the third edition of 1937, as K. 626b/16. (K. 626b is a collective entry for compositions about which nothing is known except an entry in an auction or sales catalogue.) Between 1900 and 1928 the manuscript was offered at auction several times, but the music could never be studied by scholars, and therefore, it has remained unknown. The original manuscript was acquired by a music-loving engineer in the late 1920s and remained for almost 90 years in this family’s possession until it reached the Mozarteum Foundation by mediation of the London-based specialist for autograph music Dr. Stephen Roe.
Stephen Roe explains: “During the last forty years, I have come across a few new autographs of Mozart, which have all been fragments, never of complete works. It was immediately clear that the manuscript shown to me in a private home near Amsterdam was entirely in Mozart’s own hand. I neither recognised the composition nor the paper on which is was written, which convinced me that this was an exciting discovery and full of research potential. The owners wished the manuscript to enter a major institution and we were in the very happy position of arranging the sale of the autograph manuscript to the Mozarteum Foundation, probably the best place in the world for it.”
Dr. Ulrich Leisinger, director of research of the Mozarteum Foundation, points out: “The Allegro in D major K. 626b/16 is a highly attractive and charming piano piece, that adds yet
another facet to the affectionate relationship of Mozart to his sister. How wonderful, that we are now able to participate in this relationship after such a long period of time.”