contained on a leaf once part of the celebrated collection of papers belonging to the English musician Thomas Attwood, and documenting his studies in music theory and composition with Mozart (K.506a), the leaf containing on the reverse an unpublished fugal exercise in F in the hand of Attwood, corrected and revised by Mozart; Mozart's fugue notated in a fluent hand, in a brownish ink, on three three-stave systems (alto, tenor and bass clefs), comprising 31 bars, followed on the otherwise empty staves 9-12 by a fine autograph inscription, signed, by Attwood ("A Fugue, as an example By Mozart - by way of Exercise given to Th.s Attwood 1785 - presented to Dr Hague [Charles Hague, 1769-1821, professor of music at Cambridge] being in the Handwriting of Mozart. Th.s Attwood"); Attwood's fugal exercise notated in a dull brown ink on three three-stave systems (soprano, alto and tenor clefs), comprising 35 bars, with autograph corrections by Mozart in around 15 bars, in a similar but slightly warmer ink, the corrections including Mozart's indication of proscribed parallel fifths and octaves, and followed by a further four bars of seemingly unrelated music in Attwood's hand, apparently a detail from a three-part contrapuntal exercise, possibly also corrected by Mozart (the addition of the last two ties in the upper system, bb.3-4)
2 pages, oblong 4to (c.21.6 x 27.3cm), 12-stave paper (Tyson Watermark 73: quadrant 2b), no place or date [Vienna, probably 1786], trimmed on all sides, a few small tears, including a larger one (c.4.5cm) affecting an unwritten portion of the leaf, repaired, light dust-staining, some damp-staining, very slightly affecting the lower part of the brace and first note of the third system of Mozart's fugue, horizontal, vertical and diagonal folds
Neue Mozart-Ausgabe [NMA] X/30/1 (Attwood-Studien) (Kassel, etc., 1965), p.152; NMA X/30/1, Kritischer Bericht (Kassel, etc., 1969); Emily Anderson, The Letters of Mozart and his Family (London, 1985), pp.905-906; NMA X/30/2 (Kassel, 1989), pp.xii-xiii; NMA X/33/2 (Wasserzeichen-Katalog), 'Wasserzeichen 73' (Kassel. etc., 1992), p. 35; Nicholas Temperley, the 'Thomas Attwood' entry in TNG
This manuscript, containing an autograph of a complete composition by Mozart dating from the zenith of his fame in Vienna, is unrecorded in the Köchel catalogue of Mozart's works, and was unknown to the editors of Attwood's studies in the Neue Mozart-Ausgabe.
Mozart's fugue, the music of which is known from an unattributed copy of it by Attwood, has not been published using the autograph; Attwood's fugue, corrected by Mozart, is unpublished and apparently unrecorded in the scholarly literature.
The contrapuntal studies of the English musician Thomas Attwood (1765-1838) with Mozart form one of the most remarkable chapters in the history of counterpoint teaching. These studies together with Attwood's harmony exercises (treating scales, triads, figured bass) and exercises in free composition (including four-part minuets, slow movements and rondos, and vocal and orchestral movements), some 130 leaves in all, are preserved, with the exception of the odd errant leaf (including the present one) in a manuscript which is one of the great treasures of the British Library (Add.Ms.58437). Mozart's system of counterpoint teaching as revealed within it is based on that in Johann Joseph Fux's seminal treatise Gradus ad Parnassum (1725), and treats in fairly systematic fashion Fux's five 'species' of part combinations, in two, three and four parts, moving on to canons in various voices and two- to four-part fugues. Although Mozart will have been acquainted with Fux's volume since childhood, it is possible that his intensive engagement with it after 1784 was due to the influence of Haydn, a former chorister under Fux at the Stephansdom, Vienna.
From dates contained in the British Library's Attwood manuscript, it seems that Attwood's contrapuntal exercises began in Januaury 1786 and continued to around August of that year: Attwood's date of '1785' on the present manuscript would appear to be incorrect. The British Mozart scholar Alan Tyson has identified ten differently watermarked papers in the British Library manuscript; one of these (watermark 73 paper), used in fols. 83, 84/85 and 109, is also that of the present leaf. While fol. 109, containing two four-part minuets in B flat, belongs to Attwood's studies in free composition and thus dates from slightly later, the present leaf and fols. 83 and 84/85 in the Attwood manuscript are closely related in content - the latter containing four four-part fugues in Attwood's hand, the last of these dated "August 15 [?: or 13?] " - and will no doubt have been written around the same time (although none of the British library leaves, to judge from the paper quadrants involved, will have been conjugate with the present leaf). Of particular interest is the fact that in the British Library's Attwood manuscript there are no examples of fugues in Mozart's own hand; the three three-part fugues that are contained there being in Attwood's, including (on fol.78v) his copy of the G-major fugue on the present leaf. This three-part fugue - which the present manuscript identifies as Mozart's - is easily the most dynamic of all the fugues in the Attwood manuscript, a particularly noteworthy feature being the quasi second fugal subject, an initially scalic figure rising from the tonic to the dominant and falling back to the third, which emerges in its full form at b.11 - a tag that crops up a number of times in Mozart, most famously (now in minor-key mode) in the 'walking bass' counterpoint to the chorale of the armed men in Die Zauberflöte. Attwood's three-part fugue on the present leaf, much corrected by Mozart, is a valiant effort, although it is perhaps telling that its most attractive feature, the sequence before the final cadence, is the least strictly contrapuntal part of it.
A former Chapel Royal chorister and son of a viola player and trumpeter in George III's music band, Attwood had already studied for two years in Italy, as a protégé of the Prince of Wales, under Felipe Cinque and Gaetano Latilla before coming to Mozart, with whom he studied between August 1785 and his departure in February 1787. For the successful composer, who would bring Le nozze di Figaro to the stage on 1 May 1786, and who was at the height of his concert popularity (the Lent season in 1786 seeing the performance of the concertos in A, K.488, and C minor, K.491), the well-connected Attwood no doubt represented a potentially useful contact for the furthering of his own career in London. But genuine affection no doubt also played a part in this relationship. The tenor Michael Kelly, who created the roles of Don Basilio and Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro, recorded in his Reminiscences the following glowing testimonial by Mozart: "Attwood is a young man for whom I have a sincere affection and esteem, he conducts himself with great propriety, and I feel much pleasure in telling you that he partakes more of my style than any scholar I ever had; and I predict, that he will prove a sound musician". Mozart's prediction came true, his English pupil forging a highly successful career for himself: appointed organist of St. Paul's Cathedral in 1796 and of the Chapel Royal in 1836, Attwood also became one of the founding members of the Philharmonic Society in 1813 and a founding professor of the Royal Academy of Music in 1823. And in a number of church works characterized by a Mozartian sweetness of harmony and melodic grace (his hymn Come, Holy Ghost is a good example) his name as a composer is still alive today. A remarkable handwritten account by Attwood of his acquaintanceship with Mozart was sold in these rooms on 12 May 1981 (lot 161).
A passage in Leopold Mozart's letter to his daughter, Nannerl, of 1 March 1787 records an episode in Attwood's journey home to England:
...At six-thirty on Monday evening I received a note from the Vienna opera singer Madame Storace, to say she had arrived at the Trinkstube. I found her mother with her, an Englishwoman (the daughter herself was born in England), the Vienna opera tenor O'Kelly, who is also an Englishman by birth, another Englishman whom I did not know but who is probably cicisbeo to the mother and daughter, her brother, Maestro Storace, and a little Englishman called Attwood, who was sent to Vienna two years ago specially for the purpose of studying with your brother...My word, the amount of luggage they had! This journey will have cost them a fortune. They all spoke English, more than Italian...Concerning your brother I learned that...he intends to travel to England, but that his pupil is first going to arrange something definite for him in London, namely a contract to compose an opera or a subscription concert...
Nothing came of this last-mentioned plan, due it seems to Leopold's opposition, although Attwood would perform a valuable posthumous service to Mozart in England by playing a leading role in promoting his music there, usually including Mozart's symphonies in his Philharmonic Society concerts. It is moving to reflect that a part of the travellers' mountainous luggage referred to by Leopold will have been - stowed in among Attwood's portfolio of papers - the present leaf, today a miraculously surviving document not just resonant of a great eighteenth-century musical teaching tradition, but imbued too with the composer Mozart's unfathomable creative energy, evident in his every pen stroke.
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