Torn Mozart manuscript reunited

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The Independent Online

A Mozart manuscript that was torn in two by the composer's widow 170 years ago is to be joined together.

The manuscript, written when Mozart was 17 and living in Vienna, will be housed at the British Library.

Constanze, who outlived her husband by more than 50 years, split the manuscript in 1835 to increase its value. Fragments of music manuscripts by great composers were becoming fashionable collectors' items.

The upper portion of the manuscript was either sold or given in return for a financial favour to a court musician, Julius Leidke.

Constanze sent the lower portion, later acquired by the British Library in 1953, to a local government official in Bavaria.

Now the library has purchased the other half from a private owner, through the music antiquarian and dealer Albi Rosenthal.

The music reveals how the composer, whose 250th anniversary is celebrated on 27 January, was developing his ideas in 1773. The manuscript contains two new cadenzas to existing piano concertos, including one he had compiled from music by other composers at the age of 11. The reverse side of the manuscript contains music to a short minuet for string quartet.