3 FEBRUARY 1956, Page 16

Contemporary Arts

Mozart Exhibition

AN exhibition of some of the British Museum's remarkable collection of Mozartiana is now on view in the King's Library. It will remain open until the end of March, and is well worth a visit, to the merely curious hardly less than to the musical.

For the non-musical, the evidences of Mozart's precocity, and the material connected with his childhood visit to England in 1764-65, will probably be the most interesting. There are the notices in The Public Advertiser of the demonstrations by him and his sister, Daines Barrington's Account of a very remark- able young musician, based on a test of Mozart's ability carried out during that visit, and the autograph of the motet God is our Refuge, which Mozart presented to the Museum in July, 1765.

Other exhibits of similar interest include Mozart's marriage contract with Constanze Weber, the first edition, in serial form, of Morike's Mozart auf der Reise nach Prag, and the autograph of Mozart's own thematic catalogue of his works from 1784 to 1791, open at the last page, showing the entries for Die Zauberflote, La Clemenza di Tito, the Clarinet Concerto, and the Freimaurer-Kantate. The first and last of these exhibits are from the Stefan Zweig collection, deposited on loan, which also includes five of Mozart's letters, autographs of 'Das Veilchen,' the last String Quintet, one of the horn concertos, and the aria 'Non sb pib' from Figaro. The Museum's own collection is equally rich in autographs, some of them of the greatest works—the last ten string quartets, the C minor piano Con- certo (this on indefinite loan from the Royal College of Music), the B flat Sonata for piano duet, the C minor String Quintet, and some sketches for the last movement of the E flat Piano Quartet. This last is particularly interest- ing, as Mozart, unlike Beethoven, left so few sketches. Some of the other autographs also show examples of those alterations and changes of mind so fascinating to all of us non-creators, who feel that they give us clues to the processes of creative genius. The first page of the so-called 'Dissonance' Quartet is shown, and there is no doubt that Mozart meant what he wrote—though this has not prevented some owner of it from making pen- cilled crosses by the most sharply offending notes. The C minor Concerto shows copious alterations in the solo part, and the 'Hunt' Quartet, openlat the beginning of the last movement, shows a rejected beginning, thirteen bars long, on the same theme, but in common time, with doubled note-values, and some differences in the entries of the other parts. A similar rejected opening, this one quite un- related to the movement that follows it, pre- cedes the last movement of the later B flat Quartet (K.590), but these two cannot be com- pared as Mozart turned over the page to begin anew. This and several other examples, such as the curious change of the tempo-direction for the slow movement of the 'Dissonance' Quartet from 'adagio' to 'andante cantabile,' although not on view, are referred to or illus- trated in the excellent select catalogue of the Museum's Mozart collection, .issued for the occasion. Like the exhibition, this has obvi- ously been prepared with the expert know-

ledge of the two internationally distinguished Mozartians whom the Museum has on its staff, in C. B. Oldman, the Principal Keeper of 'Printed Books, and A. Hyatt King, head of the printed music section. Mozart's own cities, Salzburg and Vienna, will hardly have done better than they have done for London.