UPDATE: Score and parts now available from Accolade Verlag: https://www.accolade.de/index.php?action=showdetail&id=*151727818
I didn’t set out to be one of those “completers”, but having completed the Süssmayr concerto movement I recently made a completion of the Mozart fragment Anhang 88…
The fragment in A which is often given the title Rondo for basset clarinet and string quartet may have been originally intended as the final movement of KV 581. The evidence for this supposition is simply the scoring, the key, and the fact that it is unfinished. However, Alan Tyson’s paper studies indicate a date after the clarinet quintet, so the possibility of it being a companion piece cannot be entirely ruled out. The fragment shares the opening theme of Ferrando’s aria, no.24, from Cosi fan tutte. Tyson concluded that the fragment most likely came after the aria, a hypothesis which is supported by the very sparsely notated fragment: Mozart hardly had to remind himself of the harmonic and textural details of a theme he had already completed.
The relaxed character of the piece falls easily within the genre of stand-alone Rondos. The quiet endings of many of these works was taken as a cue for this completion and forms a useful contrast with the ending of the Clarinet Quintet, which might otherwise have served as a model. This enables this completion of the Rondo to be programmed alongside the Clarinet Quintet. The fragment was published in the NMA together with the quintet in 1958. Since then, a further sheet of paper has been discovered and the whole fragment is now transcribed as part of the NMA’s online edition.
Here is a draft of the preface and commentary English/Deutsch:
Read part of the preface here as a web-page (good for translating with Google Chrome): Mozart Fragment Anh 88: Commentary
You can find a transcription of the fragment at the NMA online website: https://dme.mozarteum.at/DME/nma/start.php?l=2
Completing Mozart fragments is a tricky endeavour. It is understood that very few completions will enter the repertoire, although Robert Levin’s completion of KV 516c has gained wide acceptance. In Grammophone Lindsay Kemp, writes:
Completed fragments are curious things. Are they there to render playable music that would otherwise be lost to us? If so, why do we need to hear the music that isn’t there? Are they supposed to give us an idea of what a great composer might have done with promising material? But isn’t that unknowable and subjective, the results to a certain extent random? Or are they the product of a musicologist’s desire to understand their subject by getting up close and personal? But is there really a need for those then to be performed, recorded and sold? How many times will people want to listen to Mozart that isn’t Mozart?Gramophone, review of MOZART Violin Sonatas Fragment Completions (completed Timothy Jones)
While there are plenty of completed Mozart violin Sonatas, there are only two completed works for classical basset clarinet in A. With the present completions of this Mozart Rondo and the Süssmayr concerto movement we now have four works…
I think this will end my career composing completions 🙂