Music news A library in Nantes, western France has discovered a previously unknown composition by Mozart, as staff were going through its archives.
Unknown Mozart work found in French library
PARIS // A library in Nantes, western France has found a previously unknown composition by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as staff were going through its archives. Ulrich Leisinger, head of research at the International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg, Austria, declared today that there is no doubt the single sheet was written by the composer. He described the work as the preliminary draft of a musical composition. The sheet was bequeathed to the library by the well-known autograph collector Aloys Fuchs in the 19th century and was, at the time, catalogued as part of the library's collection. It was later entirely forgotten, essentially becoming lost to scholars for more than a century. "This is absolutely new," Leisinger said. "We have new music here. His handwriting is clearly identifiable." The type of paper on which the composition has been noted, suggests Mozart did not write it before 1787. The composer was interested in church music at that time and was planning to become the choral director of Vienna's principal cathedral. He died in 1791, before he could take up the post. There have been about 10 Mozart finds of such importance over the past 50 years. If sold, the single sheet would likely be worth around $100,000 (Dh335,000). In all, about 100 examples of musical drafts by Mozart are known to exist. Many are notes for works that he went on to complete. This rediscovered sheet, however, is different. "It is a draft for a piece that Mozart did not work out for whatever reason," Leisinger added. "It's a melody sketch so what's missing is the harmony and the instrumentation, but you can make sense out of it." "The tune is complete. One can really get a feeling of what Mozart meant, although we do not know how he would have orchestrated it."