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Mozart’s “La Bataille” Rare Autograph Musical Manuscript
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WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART. Autograph Musical Manuscript, “La Bataille” K.535, a contredanse for orchestra. No place or date, but Vienna, by January 23, 1788. The complete work.

Six pages, consisting of an oblong quarto (ca. 23.3 x 31.8 cm) unbound bifolium plus a single leaf of 12-stave musical manuscript paper, with watermark of three moons and the initials “VA” (“AV”) beneath a crown (Tyson watermark 95). With autograph title “La Bataille” boldly written at head.

Notated in brown ink on one 8-stave system per page. Foliated in ink “1” – “3.” Uncut and with original deckled edges. Scored for two violins, flageolet (“flauto piccolo”), two clarinets, bassoon, trumpet, tenor drum (“trammel”), violoncello and double bass (“bassi”).

With occasional autograph corrections, deletions and revisions including an 8-bar addition to the “Marcia turca” and autograph superscripts marking the different sections of the work: “[Parte] 1ma [bb.1-16]... [Parte] 2da [bb. 17-32]... [Parte] 3za [bb. 33-48]... [Parte] 4ta [bb. 49-63]... Marcia turca [bb. 64-86].”

With additional modern foliation in pencil and several manuscript annotations in both ink and pencil including an attestation of authenticity to upper right-hand corner by George Nikolaus von Nissen (“Von Mozart und seiner Handschrift”), incorrectly dated “1791” in the hand of Johann Anton André; “No 8” to upper left-hand corner in the hand of the so-called “Grauer Schreiber,” who participated in the ordering of Mozart’s estate; “gestochen” (printed) in another hand; and the pencilled number “74” to right-hand margin (corresponding to the position of the work in Mozart’s own thematic catalogue).

Inventory #24884       PRICE ON REQUEST

This manuscript is also interesting for its reference to “Turkish music,” similarly employed in Mozart’s Die Entführing aus dem Serail K.384 and the Alla Turca piano rondo K.331. 

The piece, quite programmatic in nature, dates from Mozart’s “annus mirabilis,” 1788, the year in which he also composed the last of the three symphonies (K.543, K.550 and K.551, the Jupiter) and the string trio K.563. “La Bataille” was associated with events in Austria’s military campaign against the Turks in 1788-1791; its instrumentation is particularly notable in calling for various combinations including trumpet, fife, and drum and, in the coda, war-like sound effects created by the methods in which the basses are struck.


Ex- Stefan Zweig, a legendary Mozart collector.

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