Wednesday, 24 February 2016


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
2016 has scarcely just begun and already the year, in the world of music, has unveiled several historic discoveries of note:


Just shy of one month prior to conductor Harry Christophers’ historic Service of the Mass in Latin alongside the Genesis/Sixteen at Hampton Court Palace’s Chapel Royal in England (as discussed here on, librarian James Mason at Canada’s University of Toronto discovered a composition long believed to have been lost or destroyed by late 19th - early 20h century Norwegian composer Johan Halvorsen among the Universities vast archives.

The work – a violin concerto - believed to have been the product of a donation by 20th century renowned Canadian violinist Kathleen Parlow is set to debut in Norway as part of the International Musicological Society's annual conference in the summer of 2016.
(**NOTE: See "UPDATE" at end of post).


This month, an exciting and historical debut was held at the Czech Republic's Museum of Music on Tuesday February 16th 2016. Playing for the first time a collaborative compositional effort by the composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his pop-culture-implied nemesis, Antonio Salieri, harpsichordist Lukáš Vendl was effectively performing a piece that until now existed only as a product of legend. Although the four minute piece - a solo cantata - is scored for soprano accompaniment, Vendl performed as an instrumental soloist before a select group of a dozen or so spectators.[1]

Antonio Salieri
Entitled "Per la Ricuperata Salute di Ofelia" ("For the recovered health of Ophelia"), this piece for harpsichord and soprano (with libretto[2] by 18th century favorite Lorenzo da Ponte), is said to have been originally composed in the year 1785 as a tribute to English soprano Nancy Storace[3] who at various times, held employment under both Mozart and Salieri. The piece was discovered by musicologist Timo Jouko Herrmann in November of 2015 after the library at the Czech Museum of Music in Prague opted to digitize it’s archives, allowing Herrmann to research with greater attention to detail its records whilst perusing the Museums vast database. His original search query was for Antonio Casimir Cartellieri, a possible pupil of Salieri. What returned from his search would be a discovery of epic and ground-breaking proportions.

The historic composition was performed this month at the Museum, likely for the first time in over two centuries and is cataloged under the Köchel number K. 477a.

Listen below to "Per la Ricuperata Salute di Ofelia:"

Footnotes (external links):

Soprano Nancy Storace
[1] A section of two stanzas from the cantata's libretto was also performed, penned by a (currently) unknown composer who contributed as a third author to the historic piece.

[2] details regarding which composer contributed to which stanzas are listed on the Wikipedia page for "Per la Ricuperata Salute di Ofelia"

[3] Storace owed her dedication to the recovery of her voice, which she has lost during an alleged ‘nervous breakdown’. It is unsurprising that both composers would choose to honor her thus: Storace was a classical era favorite, having worked for both composers and even having earned the coveted first spot as Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. So beloved by the Viennese public was Storace, she even had compositional works created entirely for her.

UPDATE: Listen below to a recording (released by Naxos on February 10, 2017) of Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud performing Halvorsen's "lost" Concerto for Violin and orchestra (Op. 28) alongside the Malmö Symphony Orchestra.

The lively concerto originally held it's 'modern' premiere at Norway's
Risør Chamber Music Festival on July 3, 2016 with Kraggerud performing alongside the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra:


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