MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-1791). Autograph music manuscript signed ('W.A. Mozart') of his song, 'Als Luise die Briefe ihres ungetreuen Liebhabers verbrannte', K.520, for voice and piano, Vienna, 'in H[er]r[n] gottfried Von Jacquins Zim[m]er', 26 May 1787, dated in autograph and annotated with the address of Mozart's house, 'Landstrasse', autograph emendations to the vocal line at bars 5 and 6, and to the piano part in the final bar, 1½ pages, oblong 4to (230 x 320mm), further endorsements including one of four lines on verso by J.B. André, noting that this was one of the large collection of original manuscripts bought by his father, Kapellmeister A. André, from the widow of the composer in 1799. Provenance: Louisa Emil Charlotte, Lady Revelstoke, wife of the 1st Lord Revelstoke -- at her death in 1892, to her 2nd daughter Margaret, wife of 6th Earl Spencer; and by descent -- sale at Christie's, 16 October 1985, lot 146.
THE EXQUISITE MANUSCRIPT OF 'ONE OF MOZART'S MOST BEAUTIFUL SONGS'
Mozart responds with a delightful through-composed setting to a text by Gabriele von Baumberg (1766-1839), portraying the emotions of 'Louise, as she burnt the letters of her unfaithful lover', from the vengefulness of the opening lines, addressed to the letters 'geht zu Grunde! geht zu Grunde!' to the melancholic reflection of the close, 'Doch ach! der Mann, der euch geschrieben, brennt lange noch vielleicht in mir' (but ah, the man who wrote you still burns on in me). The song is 'not really a song at all, but a dramatically conceived scena, in which one not only feels the injured mood of the young lady, in the complaining chromaticism in C minor, but also sees the fire on the hearth -- a little masterpiece, at once free and perfectly rounded' (Alfred Einstein. Mozart. His character; his work. London, 1969, p.378). The two autograph emendations are unusual records of Mozartian second thoughts. The first alters the relation between text and underlay in the phrase 'Kinder der Melancholie': a first attempted emendation in situ has apparently become too messy, and Mozart scores through the whole phrase in the vocal line, replacing it with a new version in the free stave at the foot of the page. The second emendation, comprising the cancellation of a double-bar and addition of a further phrase at the end of the song, replaces a simple ending of a tonic chord on the last note of the vocal line with a reminiscence in the piano part of its opening phrase, thus rounding off the piece.
Mozart never published the song himself: instead, it was published by his close friend and pupil, Gottfried von Jacquin (1763-1792), as his own (as was Mozart's 'Das Traumbild' K.530), with a dedication to one 'Fräulein von Altomonte' (possibly herself a singer); the author of the text, Gabriele von Baumberg, also appears to have been a member of von Jacquin's circle. Mozart's peculiarly specific note that the song was composed 'in Mr Gottfried von Jacquin's room' indicates that it was always intended as a present, and prompts Neil Zaslaw's playful suggestion that von Jacquin might have 'forced his friend Mozart to compose it under lock and key'. The methodical way, however, in which Mozart has signed the manuscript, dated it and added his address (he had moved house a month previously) makes at the same time a strong assertion of authorship. Mozart entered the song in his Verzeichnis of works, and the André provenance indicates that the manuscript was returned to him after being copied by von Jacquin.
The year 1787, the Don Giovanni year, saw Mozart's most prolific burst of song-composition, producing 28 works in the genre.
An autograph letter signed by Mozart to Gottfried von Jacquin approximately three days after the date of this manuscript is included as lot 174 in Christie's sale of Livres d'artistes, livres anciens, manuscrits et la bibliotheque d'un amateur français in Paris on 26 November 2003.