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1791 __ Adagio and Allegro for mechanical organ in F minor
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Comment : Among the works Mozart composed during 1791, the final year of his life, were three written for a mechanical organ or musical clock. They were the result of a commission from Count Joseph Deym von Strzitez, an eccentric Viennese aristocrat who had recently opened a monument dedicated to the memory of the late Field-Marshal Laudon. Deym owned several curious mechanical organs powered by clockwork, one of which was designed to play suitably solemn music in the mausoleum. Despite the composer's dislike of the instrument, which he claimed was "childish", K.594 is the most imposing of the works Deym commissioned from Mozart, with deeply felt outer sections that contrast starkly with an extrovert central section. After Mozart's death a description of the monument reported: "Every hour one hears a suitable funeral music which the unforgettable composer Mozart wrote especially for it... It surpasses in precision and clarity everything which was ever attempted or designed for this kind of artistic product". (Compiled from various sources)The K.594 piece was commissioned in 1790 by a mr. Müller.formerly Joseph count Deym von Stritez, who had left Vienna due to a duel where he killed his opponent and had recently returned under an alias. Mozart probably met him through the sculptor Leonhard Posch, author of the 1788 wax relief alongside, who also worked for the Müller'schen Kunstkabinett founded by Deym. In this ‘multimedia’ exhibition gallery wax figures of an exotic or heroïc nature were displayed, while ‘musical clocks’ or player-organs provided atmosphere. Among other things, there were a pyramid with chiming-clock, a singing mechanical canary, two waxen flute-playing boys in Spanish clothing, a life-size lady en negligée sitting at a player-piano, and even a Bedroom of the Graces, which according to an eye-witness was a voyeuristic, semi-erotic display featuring a young girl sleeping on a bed, mellowly lit by alabaster lamps and watched over by Venus herself, the whole brightened by ‘a glorious flute music, as though inspired by the breath of love… It is an Adagio by the unforgettable Mozart. Mozart probably accepted Deym’s commission in september 1790, shortly before leaving for Frankfurt, where he hoped to take advantage of the festivities on the coronation of Leopold II. That he could hardly set himself to the task, is evident from a letter to Constanze of 3 october: « I had made up my mind to write the Adagio for the clockmaker right away and slip a few ducats in my dear wife's hands; I did start.but unfortunately, because I hate the job, I wasn't able to finish it.I write some every day.but have to postpone as I get bored.and surely, if there wasn't such an important reason to force myself, I would certainly leave off;.yes, if it were a large clock, and the thing would sound like a true organ, then it might be fun; but as it is, the work consists solely of little pipes, which sound high-pitched and too childish for my taste. » King considered the contradiction between the composers aversion and the magnificent opus handed down to us as ‘a notable triumph of mind over matter.’ The sound of the medium antipathetic to him, Mozart supposedly reverted to a sublime absolute music stance: the central section of K.594 a brilliant contrapuntal Allegro, racing by in a buoyant gallop, the framing lamento Adagio characterized by a sustained chromatic pathos that is remarkably advanced for its date. However, it is tempting to believe that Mozart didn't write that much at all while away, and after returning home in mid-november.perhaps the nine bar D minor sketch K.Anh.35(593a) was all he could actually show,.rather than restraining himself, he persuaded Deym to obtain a larger instrument instead, preferably fitted with low sounding stopped pipes. Obviously, the marvellous notes of K.594 bear witness to renewed relish and gusto. (Sjoerd J. Schaper, “Mechanical Mozart”, 2002)
French comment : De même que la Fantaisie K.608 et l'Andante K.616, cette pièce a originalement été écrite pour ce que l'on appelle en allemand une « Flötenuhr », c'est-à-dire un instrument mécanique à rouleau dans le genre d'une boîte à musique. Le compositeur n'avait dès lors aucune limitation technique : l'écriture est tellement toufue qu'un organiste ne peut s'en sortir à lui tout seul. La plupart des éditions proposent une version déjà arrangée et adaptée à l'orgue, ce qui est bien pratique, mais présente l'inconvénient de constituer déjà une interprétation. L'édition à télécharger ici se base sur le seul texte original conservé, à savoir une version pour piano à quatre mains de l'auteur, transcrite sur deux portées par souci de lisibilité. L'organiste est dès lors libre d'effectuer son propre arrangement en toute connaissance de cause et en fonction de l'instrument dont il dispose. (Simon Peguiron, “Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Fantaisie pour orgue K. 594”, 2006)
Urls : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ak3lUy9NSAE (last visited ) http://home.versatel.nl/vspickelen/Mozartfiles/Mozart.htm (last visited ) http://www.nazard.org/partoches/mozart594.pdf (last visited )

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