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MOZART, KIRNBERGER AND THE IDEA OF MUSICAL PURITY: REVISITING TWO SKETCHES FROM 1782

  • MARKUS RATHEY
Abstract

When Beethoven praised Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, he emphasized the multitude of musical styles and genres to be found in the opera, ranging from folk tunes to arias to hymn-like textures. The most extraordinary stylistic and generic allusions occur during the ‘Song of the Armoured Men’ in Act 2. This movement owes its extraordinary character to a ‘baroque’ accompaniment and a Lutheran-hymn quotation, the source and meaning of which continue to be discussed in Mozart research. While scholars have often suggested that Mozart took the hymn melody from Johann Philipp Kirnberger's Die Kunst des reinen Satzes in der Musik (where it is quoted without its text), Reinhold Hammerstein argues that because the composer also appears to have known the hymn's text, he must have encountered the melody elsewhere. This article, based on a study of Mozart's sketches for Die Zauberflöte and a close reading of Kirnberger's writings, supports the thesis that Mozart borrowed the hymn melody – and significant details of his setting of it in the ‘Song of the Armoured Men’ – from Die Kunst des reinen Satzes in der Musik.

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1 German text after Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke (NMA) II/5/19: Die Zauberflöte , ed. Gruber, Gernot and Orel, Alfred (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1970), 287 . All translations are mine unless otherwise indicated.

2 Ulrich Konrad has recently stressed the extraordinary character of the movement: ‘That the Gesang der Geharnischten is a very unusual piece of music, stylistically far outside the normal compositional idiom around 1790, is beyond debate.’ Konrad, , ‘On Ancient Languages: The Historical Idiom in the Music of Wolfgang Amadé Mozart’, in The Century of Bach and Mozart: Perspectives on Historiography, Composition, Theory, and Performance, ed. Gallagher, Sean and Kelly, Thomas Forrest (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008), 276 .

3 The reviewer of a piano reduction of Die Zauberflöte commented in the Neue Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek (1799, Anhang, 93) on the use of the chorale and posed the question of whether the use of a sacred hymn in a singspiel was indeed appropriate.

4 See Fischer, Wilhelm, ‘Mozart und die Kunst Bachs: “Der, welcher wandelt diese Straße voll Beschwerden”’, Musik im Unterricht 58 (1967), 4145 , and Hammerstein, Reinhold, ‘Der Gesang der geharnischten Männer: Eine Studie zu Mozarts Bachbild’, Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 13 (1956), 124 . See also Marshall, Robert L., ‘Bach and Mozart's Artistic Maturity’, Bach Perspectives 3 (1998), 4779 .

5 Hammerstein, ‘Gesang der geharnischten Männer’, 21–22. English translation adapted from Chapin, Keith, ‘Strict and Free Reversed: The Law of Counterpoint in Koch's Musikalisches Lexikon and Mozart's Zauberflöte ,’ Eighteenth-Century Music 3/1 (2006), 105 .

6 Chapin, ‘Strict and Free Reversed’, 106–107.

7 Landon, H. C. Robbins, 1791: Mozart's Last Year (New York: Schirmer, 1988), 130 .

8 Only in a footnote does Landon refer to Chailley, Jacques, The Magic Flute: Masonic Opera (New York: Knopf, 1971), 277278 .

9 Abert, Hermann, W. A. Mozart, neubearbeitete und erweiterte Ausgabe von Otto Jahns Mozart, two volumes (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1924), volume 2, 819 ; Kirnberger, Johann Philipp, Die Kunst des reinen Satzes in der Musik aus sicheren Grundsätzen hergeleitet und mit deutlichen Beyspielen erläutert (Berlin: Voß, 1771; reprint of second edition (Berlin and Königsberg: Decker und Hartung, 1776), Hildesheim: Olms, 1968), volume 1, 187 and 243.

10 Chailley, Magic Flute, 278.

11 See Hammerstein, ‘Gesang der geharnischten Männer’, 11.

12 Hammerstein, ‘Gesang der geharnischten Männer’, 9.

13 Hammerstein, ‘Gesang der geharnischten Männer’, 9–10.

14 On Bach reception in Mozart's keyboard works see the excellent study by Dirst, Matthew, Engaging Bach: The Keyboard Legacy from Marpurg to Mendelssohn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 5585 . The importance of Baron van Swieten for Bach reception in Vienna has been studied and richly documented by Busch, Gudrun, ‘Der österreichische Botschafter Gottfried van Swieten, das Berliner Musikleben 1771–1777 und die Musik C. P. E. Bachs’, in Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Musik für Europa, ed. Ottenberg, Hans-Günter (Frankfurt (Oder): Konzerthalle ‘Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’, 1998), 108162 .

15 See Hartinger, Anselm, ‘Mozart, Bach und der wortgewaltige Zeuge: Friedrich Rochlitz’ Bericht über die Leipziger Mottetenaufführung im Beisein Mozarts’, Bach Magazin 7 (2006), 1419 , and Solomon, Maynard, Mozart: A Life (New York: HarperCollins, 1996), 439 .

16 Hammerstein, ‘Gesang der geharnischten Männer’, 9.

17 Armbruster, Richard, Das Opernzitat bei Mozart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2001), 253254 .

18 Ulrich Konrad comes to a similar conclusion in his study of Mozart's sketches: ‘Ob die Kontrapunktische Studie KV 620b = Anh. 78. . .in direkter Verbindung mit der Szene in der Zauberflöte steht, kann nicht eindeutig entschieden werden. Immerhin behandelt auch sie den Choral Ach Gott vom Himmel, sieh darein. Sollte sie unabhängig von der Oper angelegt worden sein, läge ein ähnlicher Fall wie bei den Studien über das “Cum sancto spiritu”-Thema der Messe c-Moll KV417=427 vor: ehemals “neutrales” Versuchsmaterial wäre in konkretes Werkmaterial umgewandelt worden’ (Whether the contrapuntal study kv620b = Anh. 78. . .is directly related to the scene from Die Zauberflöte cannot be determined. However, it does also use the chorale Ach Gott vom Himmel, sieh darein. If it was made independently from the opera, this would constitute a case similar to the studies for the ‘Cum sancto spiritu’ theme for the Mass in C Minor kv417 = 427, where material that had been a ‘neutral’ sketch is turned into material for a specific work). Konrad, , Mozarts Schaffensweise: Studien zu den Werkautographen, Skizzen und Entwürfen (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1992), 469 , note 90.

19 Today owned by the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Mus. Hs. 17559, f. 16r).

20 Konrad, Mozarts Schaffensweise, 303.

21 See Biba, Otto, ‘Bachpflege in Wien von Gottlieb Muffat bis Johann Georg Albrechtsberger’, in Mundus Organorum: Festschrift Walter Supper, ed. Reichling, Alfred (Berlin: Merseburger, 1978), 2135 , and Biba, , ‘Von der Bach-Tradition in Österreich’, in Johann Sebastian Bach: Beiträge zur Wirkungsgeschichte, ed. Fuchs, Ingrid (Vienna: Verband der wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaften Österreichs, 1992), 1133 .

22 See Holschneider, Andreas, ‘Die musikalische Bibliothek Gottfried van Swietens’, in Bericht über den Internationalen Musikwissenschaftlichen Kongress Kassel 1962, ed. Reichert, Georg and Just, Martin (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1963), 175178 .

23 See Brown, Marshall, ‘Mozart, Bach, and Musical Abjection’, The Musical Quarterly 83/4 (1999), 509535 , and Kirkendale, Warren, ‘More Slow Introductions by Mozart to Fugues of J. S. Bach?Journal of the American Musicological Society 17/1 (1964), 4365 .

24 The Letters of Mozart & His Family, ed. Emily Anderson (London: Macmillan, 1938), volume 3, 1192.

25 Owned by the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (shelf mark Mu. Ms. 609).

26 The canon was replaced in the second edition (1774), so Mozart must have had access to the first edition (1771).

27 Konrad, Mozarts Schaffensweise, 297.

28 Vogler, Georg Joseph, Betrachtungen der Mannheimer Tonschule (Mannheim, 1778–1781; reprinted Hildesheim: Olms, 1974), volume 3, part 7, 2–6. The musical example is in volume 4, 400 of the reprint.

29 Concerning Vogler's critiques of Kirnberger and Bach see Grave, Floyd K., ‘Abbe Vogler and the Bach Legacy’, Eighteenth-Century Studies 13/2 (1979–1980), 119141 , and Rathey, Markus, ‘Abbé Voglers “Organist-Schola” und seine Konzeption der Choralbegleitung jenseits extrovertierter Virtuosität’, in 8. Internationale musikwissenschaftliche Konferenz ‘Musica Baltica’: Geistliches Lied im Ostseeraum zwischen Reformation und 1900, ed. Ochs, Ekkehard, Werbeck, Walter and Winkler, Lutz (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2004), 87105 .

30 On Vogler and Mozart see Sadie, Stanley, Mozart: The Early Years, 1756–1781 (New York: W. W. Norton, 2006), 429431 .

31 Kirnberger's edition was published by Breitkopf in Leipzig.

32 University Library in Uppsala, Sweden, Vokalmusik i handskrift 133 (edited in NMA X/30/3, sketch 93). See also Engländer, Richard, ‘The Sketches from “The Magic Flute” at Uppsala’, The Musical Quarterly 27/3 (1941), 343355 .

33 Ulrich Konrad, Mozarts Schaffensweise, 469, is probably right when he suggests that Mozart made additional sketches for this scene that are now lost.

34 Kirnberger, Die Kunst des reinen Satzes, volume 2, part 3, 128–129.

35 Lütteken, Laurenz, ‘Zwischen Ohr und Verstand: Moses Mendelssohn, Johann Philipp Kirnberger und die Begründung des “reinen Satzes” in der Musik’, in Musik und Ästhetik im Berlin Moses Mendelssohns (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1999), 159 .

36 It is at least the only hymn setting he wrote down. During his trip to Leipzig in 1789 Mozart improvised on another hymn. A contemporary reports: ‘With very good grace, and with the greatest agility, Mozart brought to bear all the arts of harmony, improvising magnificently on themes – among others on the chorale “Jesus meine Zuversicht”’. Quoted in Solomon, Mozart, 439.

37 Schindler, Anton, Ludwig van Beethoven, fifth edition, ed. Volbach, Fritz (Münster: Aschendorff, 1927), 164 .

38 Kirnberger, Johann Philipp, The Art of Strict Musical Composition, trans. Beach, David and Thym, Jurgen (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982).

39 See Lütteken, Laurenz, ‘Die Apotheose des Chorals: Zum Kontext eines kompositionsgeschichtlichen Problems bei Brahms und Bruckner’, in Colloquia Academica G 1996 (Stuttgart: Steiner, 1997), 2223 .

40 Kirnberger, Die Kunst des reinen Satzes, volume 1, 142; Art of Strict Musical Composition, 159.

41 Kirnberger, Die Kunst des reinen Satzes, volume 1, 135.

42 Kirnberger, Die Kunst des reinen Satzes, volume 1, 157; Art of Strict Musical Composition, 172.

43 Kirnberger, Die Kunst des reinen Satzes, volume 1, 157. In 1784–1787 Kirnberger and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach edited a collection of Bach chorale settings that was intended to facilitate the study of composition. See Schulze, Hans-Joachim, ‘150 Stück von den Bachischen Erben. Zur Überlieferung der vierstimmigen Choräle Johann Sebastian Bachs’, Bach-Jahrbuch 69 (1983), 81100 , and Wachowski, Gerd, ‘Die vierstimmigen Choräle Johann Sebastian Bachs. Untersuchungen zu den Druckausgaben von 1765 bis 1932 und zur Frage der Authentizität’, Bach-Jahrbuch 69 (1983), 5179 .

44 Kirnberger, Die Kunst des reinen Satzes, volume 1, 223; Art of Strict Musical Composition, 233–234.

45 Kirnberger, Die Kunst des reinen Satzes, volume 1, 226.

46 Christoph Wolff has recently suggested that Kirnberger's concept of purity influenced Mozart's late motet Ave verum corpus and movements from the Requiem, both pieces that were written in close proximity to Die Zauberflöte. But he does not draw a connection between the singspiel and Kirnberger's aesthetic. Wolff, Christoph, Mozart at the Gateway to His Fortune: Serving the Emperor 1788–1791 (New York: Norton, 2012), 156157 .

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Eighteenth-Century Music
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