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»Ich schwelge in Mozart«

Mozart im Spiegel von Brahms

On Saturday, April 29, 2006, Brahms-Institut at Musikhoch­schule Lübeck at Villa Brahms presented a new special exhibition: »Ich schwelge in Mozart: Mozart im Spiegel von Brahms« (»I Revel in Mozart: Mozart in the Mirror of Brahms«). The most spectacular item in the show is the precious manuscript of the famous G Minor Symphony K. 550 from the estate of Johannes Brahms. The manuscript was lent to the Brahms-Institut for the Mozart year by the Archiv der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien.

As the director of the Brahms-Institut Wolfgang Sandberger put it, »This offers a unique opportunity to view this manuscript, which otherwise is kept under lock and key in the Archiv der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien for reasons of preservation. The score is one of Mozart’s most interesting manuscripts: it allows unique insights into his compositional workshop«. The manuscript has been declared part of the World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.

Brahms was given the precious score by Landgravine Anna of Hessen as thanks for dedicating his Piano Quintet op. 34 to her. Clara Schumann pointed out the Mozart manuscript to the countess, and was commissioned with obtaining it: »Which I did with great pleasure«, she wrote in a letter from November 3, 1864, »you will probably believe it when you see it. I hope she will send it to you soon, I brought it to her just now . . . with a heavy heart, I leave her to be the giver«.

»I revel in Mozart’s sonatas«, the 23-year-old Brahms wrote to Clara Schumann in 1856. This quotation from the letter was the motto for the exhibition that sought to explore Brahms’ interest in Mozart. The young Brahms’ enthusiasm for Mozart developed over the years to a complex web of relations, rich in facets. Brahms worked as a pianist and conductor for Mozart’s music, studying and collecting his works, and investigating them in a scholarly manner. His wide-ranging experience with Mozart was documented in the show with around 50 exhibits and five thematic emphases: Mozart Celebrations and Monuments in Brahms’ Time, Brahms as a Mozart Performer, Brahms as a Mozart Collector, Brahms as a Mozart Editor, and a small selection of »Mozartiana« from Brahms’ library.

Listening stations presenting works by Mozart and Brahms and passages from Mörike’s Mozart auf der Reise nach Prag and the novel Steppenwolf (1927), in which Hermann Hesse provided a literary treatment of an imaginary encounter between Mozart and Brahms.


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