Newly discovered Mozart pieces performed in Austria


June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 2, 2009 at 8:10 AM EDT

Two newly discovered piano pieces, which scholars now say were almost certainly composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, were performed Sunday in the composer's birthplace of Salzburg.

The partitions, a four-minute concerto for piano and a one-minute prelude, were found in Mozart's sister Nannerl's notebook, in the archives of the International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg.

They were "in all probability, bordering on certainty" the works of the young Mozart, composed around 1763-1764 when the prodigy was seven or eight years old, the foundation said Sunday.

Nannerl's notebook contained 18 pieces, which had until now been attributed to Mozart's father Leopold or unknown composers.

The two newly discovered works were also written in Leopold's hand.

"But neither the style of composition, nor the hasty correction-laden writing point to Leopold's authorship," Mozarteum researcher Ulrich Leisinger said.

"It is much more likely that Wolfgang Amadeus played the composition on the piano for his father, who then wrote it down for Wolfgang, who was still inexperienced in music writing, and later corrected it," he added.

The two pieces, presented on Sunday by clavichordist Florian Birsak on Mozart's own fortepiano at the family's old Salzburg residence, were unusually difficult for piano compositions at the time and their breakneck speed was untypical for Leopold, Leisinger also said.

"This was a young musician running riot in order to show what he was capable of," the researcher noted.

"Moreover, the piece contains real technical mistakes in composition as well as clumsy elements that never would have happened to an old hand like Leopold."

Recordings of the two pieces can be found at www.mozarteum.at -- the Mozarteum website.

The partitions will also be included in a printed version of Nannerl's notebook in the autumn.

Mozart, born in Salzburg in 1756, began composing at the age of five and went on to produce some of the most famous concertos, symphonies and operas of his time, until his death in 1791.

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