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As was widely reported this weekend, there was a world premiere in Salzburg of two hitherto-unknown works by the very young Mozart (well -- possibly, probably by the very young Mozart), unearthed at the back of one of his sister’s sketchbooks in the Mozart archive in Salzburg. I’ve already noted in a previous post the ongoing enthusiasm for world premieres by composers of the classical canon; add this Mozart discovery to the list as something that’s tacitly pitched to the popular imagination as a rediscovered masterpiece. (At four minutes and one minute respectively, the two new pieces have just about the right duration to catch the attention of the iPod crowd [myself included]). The musicologist Florian Birsak performed them for an audience of the press; the public has to wait to hear them until Salzburg’s Mozart Week in January.

In related news (as I see it), I just got an announcement of the forthcoming premiere and recording "new Brahms work": a version of the violin concerto transcribed for piano. Dejan Lazic, who made the transcription, will perform it in Atlanta with the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Spano on October 1-3, and it will subsequently be released on CD. (The piece will have its European premiere with the BBC Orchestra in January.)

And in more related news: a hitherto unknown Schumann sketch for a fourth piano sonata has been unveiled -- though the website of the pianist Frederick Moyer, who performs it and has made the manuscript available digitally, is no longer responding. Perhaps the server was broken by the hordes of Schumann fans trying to log on. (I'm leaving the link up in the hopes that it will revive in due course.)
EDITED TO ADD: The website's back: here's a link taking you directly to the Schumann page.

By Anne Midgette  |  August 5, 2009; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  international , news  
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"forthcoming premiere and recording "new Brahms work": a version of the violin concerto transcribed for piano."

Why? Because there aren't enough piano + orchestra pieces? Because there are no new works to premiere?

I don't like it. I could understand if the transcription were for an instrument that lacks sufficient repertory (kazoo, for example), but the piano has more than enough music to be played without resorting to transcribing things for piano.

I don't like the pairing with the Pictures either. It's too easy. It's the Ravel version for one and it would be more interesting to play another. But it is also an orchestration. Somehow I don't think Lazic did anything to the rest of the orchestra's parts. It might've made more sense to pair it with something from Liszt.

Posted by: prokaryote | August 5, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

The NSO once performed a version of "Pictures" in the form of a piano concerto, with about 15 minutes of added music taken by the pianist from other Mussorgsky works. It created a whole new context for the original parts, and I found it quite entertaining. As best I can tell, it's vanished forever. But whatever else it was, it wasn't a "new" Mussorgsky work.

Beethoven himself arranged his violin concerto for piano, and it's been recorded several times. It's quirky but fun. I suppose that a comparable version of the Brahms violin concerto, even if by someone else, would also be fun if heard occasionally. But "new"? Tsk.

I keep waiting for Sibelius' Eighth to turn up. He didn't really burn it, did he? (Yes, I guess he did.)

Posted by: BobL | August 5, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Pianist and composer Emile Naumoff’s premiere of “Pictures” in the form of a piano concerto, with material from other Musorgski works, was given with the NSO under Mstislav Rostropovich in April 1994. Slatkin later conducted the NSO (and recorded with the Nashville SO last year) some his favorites from the 35 different orchestrations of the original Musorgski piano suite. (The Nashville SO recording closes with the “Great Gate of Kyiv/Kiev” as arranged for orchestra and male chorus.)

I'm looking forward to the San Francisco Symphony, this season, performing the Charles Ives - Henry Brant Concord Symphony. I'm looking even more forward to the National Symphony Orchestra performing Charles Ives's Universe Symphony (and WETA broadcasting the SFS's Keeping Score project, in full).

Posted by: snaketime1 | August 5, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

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