250 years ago, on 23 April 1764, the eight-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart arrived in London with his father Leopold, mother Anna Maria, and sister Maria Anna (Nannerl). The visit formed part of an ambitious European tour, in which the Mozart children were presented as musical prodigies in public concerts and to private patrons.
Their visit to London, which would last for 15 months, has special significance for the British Library, since Mozart may be counted as the first in an illustrious line of composers to have presented manuscripts to the Library. This event took place during the course of the family's visit to the British Museum, in July 1765. On that occasion, Mozart deposited a copy of his first sacred composition (and only setting of an English text), God is our Refuge, written with the assistance of his father Leopold, together with copies of two sets of keyboard sonatas published the previous year in Paris.
Since that time, the Library has maintained a long tradition of collecting printed and manuscript sources for Mozart’s music, cultivated both under its previous guise as part of the British Museum and in its present incarnation as an autonomous library based at St. Pancras.
The Library’s Mozart holdings have therefore grown apace, with items acquired individually from dealers and at auction, via the legal deposit of music published in the UK, and as part of larger collections – notably those amassed by Vincent Novello, Edward Meyerstein, and Stefan Zweig.
The most spectacular single acquisition came in 1986, with the donation by Stefan Zweig’s heirs of his collection of musical and literary autographs, which contained among other treasures twelve Mozart manuscripts. Most notable among these is the thematic catalogue ('Verzeichnüss aller meine Werke vom Monath febrario 1784 . . .') that Mozart maintained from 1784 till his death in 1791, in which he noted - among other details - the date, title and first few bars of music for each work. In 2006, this rich and revealing document became the first of the Library’s Mozart sources to be digitised and was made available via the Turning the Pages website to mark the composer’s 250th anniversary. It is also available as an e-book and via the Library's Digitised Manuscripts portal.
The Library has now digitised the remaining Mozart autograph manuscripts in its collection. For ease of reference, we thought it would be helpful to provide the following classified list with a brief title or description of each work and a hyperlink (embedded in the shelfmark) to the digital images. Unless otherwise specified, the manuscripts are full autograph scores of the respective works.
For anyone curious to explore a little further, click on the Köchel numbers for links to the relevant entries in Wikipedia (where available), where you'll also find links to public domain recordings and editions available from the Neue Mozart Ausgabe and the International Music Score Library Project. Using these resources will make it possible to compare Mozart’s notation with various editions, or to follow the composer’s score while listening to a recording in the comfort of your own home.
Minuet in F (K. 168a): Add MS 47861a, f. 10v (lower portion of divided leaf) and MS Mus. 1040, f. 1v (upper portion of divided leaf)
Adagio and Rondo in C minor/major for armonica, flute, oboe, viola and cello (K. 617): Zweig MS 61
Keyboard music (with or without accompaniment)
Minuet no. 3 and trio no. 6 of a set of dances for orchestra, arranged for piano (K. 176): Add MS 14396, f. 13r-13v
Sonata in B flat for piano duet (K. 358/186c): Add MS 14396, ff. 21v-29v
Sonata for violin and piano in F (K. 377/374e): Zweig MS 53
March for orchestra in C (K. 408, no. 1/383e): Zweig MS 54
Five contredanses for flute, strings (2 violins, cello and bass) and drum (K. 609): Zweig MS 59
Chorus, 'God is our Refuge', K. 20: K.10.a.17.(3.)
Cadenza to the second movement (Andante) of a Keyboard Concerto by Ignaz von Beecke (K. 626a, Anh. K): MS Mus. 1040, f. 10r (upper portion of divided leaf: presented here with the lower portion, Add MS 47861a)
Cadenza to the first movement (Allegro maestoso) of the Keyboard Concerto K. 40, arranged from sonata movements by Honauer, Eckard and C.P.E. Bach: Add MS 47861a, f. 10r (lower portion of divided leaf)
Copies in Mozart’s hand
Georg Reutter, ‘De Profundis’, in four parts, with organ accompaniment, in score, copied by Mozart, K. 93 / Anh. A 22: Add MS 31748, f. 1
Johann Michael Haydn, Ave Maria in F (for Advent or the Annunciation), for 4 voices with basso continuo and violins (KV3 Anh. 109VI, no. 14, KV6 Anh. A 14): Add MS 41633, f. 60-63
Thematic catalogue, 'Verzeichnüss aller meine Werke vom Monath febrario 1784 . . .': Zweig MS 63
Letter to Maria Anna Thekla Mozart, 5 November 1777: Zweig MS 64
Letter to Maria Anna Thekla Mozart, 28 February 1778: Zweig MS 65
Letter to Maria Anna Thekla Mozart, 23 December 1778: Zweig MS 66
Letter to Maria Anna Thekla Mozart, 10 May : Zweig MS 67
Letter to Anton Klein; Vienna, 21 May 1785: Zweig MS 68
Contract of marriage between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Constanze Weber, 3 August 1782: Zweig MS 69